Christina Tantoy
Christina Tantoy
Associate, Los Angeles
Formerly: Barista, Retail Clerk
Education
  • J.D., California Western School of Law;
  • B.A., University of California, San Diego.

I am a first-generation Filipino-American, native to the suburbs of Los Angeles, whose parents both moved to the United States in their early 30s.

Growing up in a traditional large Filipino family, hospitality is a rite of passage. Welcoming guests into our homes to eat, laugh, celebrate, and simply spend time with one another is not just done for special occasions - it is a normal occurrence. When I was twelve years old, my family attempted to open a restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. However, they did not have the business savvy or means to keep that restaurant going.

As a young attorney, I am privileged with the opportunity to represent our clients in the hospitality industry to help their businesses grow while also tackling California’s ever-changing employment laws. Stokes Wagner’s dedication to both solve and prevent issues for their clients goes unmatched. I was not always sure what I wanted to be when I was growing up, but I did know that I love to read, write, and advocate for others. I am ready to face whatever challenges may come next.

If I am not in the office, I am usually going to live concerts, trying the newest restaurant in my neighborhood, or playing and/or watching basketball.

Governor Brown, Jr., recently signed five employment bills into law that affect all California employers. The following laws are effective starting January 1, 2018.

Small Businesses Must Now Provide Paid Parental Leave (SB 63) Small businesses (20-49 employees) must provide 12 weeks of unpaid parental baby bonding leave to employees. If an employee takes this leave, an employer must maintain and pay for health care coverage. Employers can be sued for failing to provide the leave, failing to return the employee to the same or comparable position after the leave, failing to maintain benefits while the employee is out on leave or taking adverse employment action against an employee who uses the leave.

Employers May No Longer Ask About Prior Salary on Job Applications (AB 168) Employers may not ask about, or consider, an applicant’s prior salary history in determining whether to hire the applicant or how much to pay the applicant. Employers may also be penalized for not providing a pay scale for the position upon demand.

Ban-the-Box Legislation Now Applies to All California Employers (AB 1008) Employers with 5 or more employees may not inquire or consider an applicant’s conviction history at any time before making a conditional offer of employment. California has officially banned the box on applications. An employer may not deny an applicant a position solely or in part because of conviction history until the employer performs an individualized assessment.

New Requirements for Mandatory Sexual Harassment Prevention Training (SB 396) Employers with 50 or more employees must include information on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation in their sexual harassment prevention trainings.

*Notice Requirement – Employers must also display a workplace poster on transgender rights: * English // Spanish

Employers Must Provide Additional Protections to Immigrant Workers (AB 450) Employers may not provide federal immigration enforcement agents (“ICE” agent) access to a business records without a warrant. Employers must also notify its employees of Form I-9 inspections performed by federal immigration enforcement officials.

Download a PDF version of this update by clicking this link.

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal-OSHA”) recently increased its penalties in response to Federal OSHA’s increased penalty hikes last year.

These new penalties apply to all citations issued on or after September 14, 2017.

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• Regulatory Violations: permit, posting, record-keeping, and reporting violations.

• General Violations: violations that are not serious in nature, but relate to employees’ occupational safety and health.

• Serious Violations: violations that create a realistic possibility of death or serious physical harm to employees.

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New fines will also have a cost-of-living component that will entail annual increases starting January 1, 2018.

If you have any questions on whether you are complying with California’s Health and Safety codes, please contact Stokes Wagner.

California Increases Employer Penalties for Cal-OSHA Violations

Employees who sue for unpaid wages can either file (1) a civil lawsuit or (2) a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (“DLSE”). An employee who files a wage claim with the DLSE may participate in a settlement conference with his/her employer. If the case does not settle, the DLSE will set the case to an administrative hearing, known as a “Berman Hearing”. Berman Hearings are mini, informal trials with a Labor Commissioner. Berman Hearings, compared to civil lawsuits, are designed to provide a speedy, informal, and affordable method for employees and employers to resolve wage claims.

In OTO, LLC v. Kho, the Court enforced an arbitration agreement that required an employee to arbitrate his wage claim rather pursue his claim through a Berman Hearing. The Court reasoned that, arbitration still provided an “accessible and affordable” forum for the employee as the employer would pay arbitration costs and the employee still had access to legal representation.

What does this mean for you? Employer arbitration agreements may now compel employees to arbitrate their wage claims rather than go through a DLSE hearing. Please contact Stokes Wagner if you have any questions regarding arbitration agreements.

For more legal updates, check out our update for September 2017!

Effective 3/13/2017, San Jose employers must offer additional hours of work to current part-time employees before agreeing to hire additional, outside workers. These current part-time employees must in “good faith and reasonable judgment” have the necessary skills and experience to perform the work. Employers are not required, however, to offer hours to part-time employees if doing so would require overtime pay.

What does this mean for you?
San Jose employers should create a policy that communicates its offer of additional hours to existing employees and documents the process in writing. Examples:

  • Post additional hours in a visible place where any employee can see;

  • Post additional hours in any languages spoken by at least 5% of the employees and include timeline for employees to respond to additional hours;

  • Email offers of additional hours;

  • Individually meet with employees and offer additional hours; and/or

  • Have part-time employees indicate their interest or lack of interest in additional hours.

More information can be found by clicking here. Please contact Stokes Wagner with any questions.

For more legal updates, check out our update for September 2017!

Local 25 Teamsters (Union) were recently acquitted of charges of conspiracy to extort and attempted extortion. In June 2014, the Teamsters allegedly slashed tires, used sexist and racist slurs, and threatened to “bash” celebrity host Padma Lakshmi’s “pretty little face in.”

Federal prosecutors accused the Union members of trying to shut down the filming if the show did not hire Teamsters to drive production vehicles. The prosecutors specifically had to prove that the Teamsters’ labor objectives, however egregious their actions, were illegitimate.

In U.S. v. Enmons, 10 U.S. 396 (1973), the Supreme Court held that union members on strike could not be prosecuted for extortion if they had legitimate labor objectives. The Court reasoned that “objectives” is based on the members’ intent and “illegitimate goals” can include unwanted, unneeded and superfluous work. Using this precedent, the Unions’ lawyers successfully defended the Union and proved that, although the men may have used rough language or engaged in behavior that might have seemed threatening, their actions were legal under federal law.

This acquittal exemplifies unions’ strong protections under federal criminal law despite union members’ violent and threatening behavior. Due to U.S. v. Enmons and the standard to prove “legitimate labor objectives,” federal jurors have little room in their ability to hold union members accountable for their actions.

For more legal updates, check out our update for September 2017!