Christina Tantoy
Christina Tantoy
Associate, Los Angeles, CA
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.

The “Hotel Workers Initiative Ordinance” – a proposed hotel workers’ protections ordinance backed by UNITE HERE Local 11 – would require hotels in the City of Los Angeles to give additional protections and benefits to hotel workers. Earlier this month, dozens of hotel workers delivered the requisite petition of signatures to the Los Angeles City Clerk to qualify the Ordinance for presentation to the City Council. Now the City Council will decide whether to put the Ordinance on the voter ballot in November or outright adopt the law.

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In February 2022, California’s legislature introduced two family-focused bills that, if passed, would (1) require employers to provide bereavement leave to all employees upon the death of a family member (AB-1949) and (2) add “family responsibilities” as a protected class under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (AB-2182).

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California recently announced that it will lift its mask mandate for vaccinated residents in indoor public places starting on February 15, 2022. This means that California no longer requires employers to mandate face coverings for vaccinated employees while indoors. And all employees, regardless of their vaccination status, are no longer required to wear a face covering while outdoors unless there is an outbreak in the workplace.

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Governor Newsom recently announced that California will enact another COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave program, which essentially revives the 2021 supplemental paid sick leave program that expired last year on September 30th. We are still waiting on the official Order with details on the 2022 Program, but here is what we know thus far:

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Federal OSHA recently published its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring certain private employers to adopt mandatory vaccination and/or COVID testing policies. Considering the ETS and other local/state vaccine mandates, we expect the number of employees submitting requests for religious accommodations to workplace vaccine mandates to only increase.

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On September 15, 2021, the Ninth Circuit lifted an injunction and mostly upheld a California law, known as Assembly Bill 51 (“AB-51”), that prohibits mandatory arbitration agreements. AB-51 invalidates mandatory arbitration agreements that are a condition of employment, including mandatory agreements that allow an employee to “opt-out” of the arbitration provisions.

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Earlier this month, the City of San Francisco revised its “Safer Return Together” Health Order to require restaurants (indoor dining), bars, clubs, gyms, and large indoor events to obtain proof of vaccination from patrons and employees.

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On June 17, 2021, the Cal-OSHA Board voted 5-1 to adopt its proposed revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), which much more closely align with the CDC guidance. That same day, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order enabling these rules to go into effect immediately. The revised ETS, among other things, allows fully vaccinated workers to discontinue mask usage and social distancing.

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On April 21, 2021, the City of Chicago passed the “Vaccine Anti-Retaliation Ordinance,” which allows all workers in Chicago—including independent contractors—to get vaccinated during their work hours. The Ordinance went into effect immediately on April 21, 2021, and applies to employers of any size in the City of Chicago.

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We are proud to announce the release of our latest Quarterly Newsletter, which may be found here.

This quarterly covers topics including:

  • Anticipated changes in labor law under the Biden Administration,
  • The latest Assembly and Senate Bills for California,
  • Minimum Wage updates, and
  • Classification of independent contractors.

Our newsletter summarizes key developments in the employment law arena on a quarterly basis, with a focus on how these developments may impact the hospitality industry and your operations. As you may have noticed, the legal landscape changes on a far more frequent basis than four times a year. So, when a particularly significant development occurs, we immediately publish a “Legal Alert” and make it available to each of our clients and subscribers. If you would like to stay abreast of legal developments in real-time, and receive our legal updates in a more timely fashion, we invite you to follow us on Instagram @stokeswagner.

THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.

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Return-To-Work Protocols

March 15, 2021

Category: Legal Updates

For several months, employees who were exposed to or in “close contact” with a COVID-19 case were required to quarantine/isolate from the workplace for 14 days. As the vaccine’s availability increases and more workers become fully vaccinated, guidance relating to these quarantine/isolation protocols will loosen.

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California recently adopted stringent COVID-19 workplace standards, known as the “Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations”, that immediately went into effect on November 30, 2020.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised the guidance regarding when to return an employee to work following a positive COVID-19 test. These revisions shorten the period of time a person should self-isolate and adopt a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy.

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On July 13, 2020, the California Department of Public Health issued Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance urging employers not to require a negative COVID-19 test before allowing an employee to return to work after they have tested positive for COVID-19.

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The City of Los Angeles released its increased minimum wage for hotels in the City of LA with 150+ rooms. On July 1, 2020, the hourly minimum wage increases from $16.63/hour to $17.13/hour for these hotel workers. The announcement can be found on the City of Los Angeles’ website, which can be found here.

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The City of Los Angeles released its increased minimum wage for hotels in the City of LA with 150+ rooms. On July 1, 2020, the hourly minimum wage increases from $16.63/hour to $17.13/hour for these hotel workers. The announcement can be found on the City of Los Angeles’ website, which can be found here.

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As businesses adapt to their “new normal” and prepare for the summer season, employers should be mindful of the approaching increases to city and state minimum wages. Employers should take the time to ensure that they are ready for minimum wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2020.

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California recently modified its Stay-at-Home Order (Executive Order N-33-20) as of May 8, 2020, to allow manufacturing and certain retail businesses to re-open for curbside business. This modification of the Stay-at-Home Order has left hotels wondering whether hotels are allowed to re-open its doors to guests traveling for leisure or non-essential travel.

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San Francisco’s Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (“PHELO” or the “Ordinance”) requires businesses with 500+ employees to provide employees with up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-related reasons (“PHELO Leave”). While the Ordinance passed on April 7, 2020, the Ordinance was amended and went into effect on April 17, 2020. Shortly after, on April 24, 2020, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) updated its guidance on the Ordinance.

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The DOL has issued new guidance and clarified that employees who do not have work available to them (e.g., as a result of a furlough or business closure) will not be eligible for benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

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As the 2020 United States Census goes into full effect, the U.S. Census Bureau is sending letters to various hotels requesting their participation in the 2020 Census count (the “Census”). Every time, our clients have the same question: do we have to participate?

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AB 51, the law that would prohibit California employers from requiring arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, remains on pause indefinitely. On January 31, 2020, after receiving supplemental briefing from both sides, the Eastern District of California issued an order granting preliminary injunction and indefinitely extending the injunction that prevents AB 51 from taking effect. This means that the State of California may not enforce AB 51 until the legal challenges to AB 51 are heard on the merits.

Employers should stay tuned for more updates as the Court will eventually determine whether the State of California should be permanently enjoined from enforcing AB 51. For now, the status quo remains and employers need not make any changes to arbitration agreements that are covered by the Federal Arbitration Act.

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Today, on September 18, 2019, California Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5), a landmark piece of legislation that codifies the ABC test and will significantly limit most employers’ use of independent contractors.

Last year, in April 2018, the California Supreme Court rocked the State’s labor and employment landscape with the decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (“Dynamex”). The court’s decision changed the way employers classified independent contractors from the longstanding Borello test (an eleven-factor test with no single factor being determinative of a workers’ classification) to a much stricter “ABC” test.

Starting on January 1, 2020, the ABC test becomes state law. California will consider a person providing labor to be an employee of a hiring entity unless:

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California employers now have until January 1, 2021, to provide sexual harassment training to their non-supervisory employees.

Last year, California passed SB 1343, which expanded sexual harassment training requirements for employers. All employers with five or more employees were required to provide sexual harassment training to non-supervisory (or “hourly”) employees by January 1, 2020. These employers are now required to provide sexual harassment training to employees as follows:

• Supervisors/Managers must receive two hours of training; • Non-supervisory employees must receive one hour of training.

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The State of California recently passed SB-83, which extends Paid Family Leave benefits from six to eight weeks for claims that start on or after July 1, 2020.

CA’s Paid Family Leave program (“PFL”) is a state disability insurance program. PFL provides up to eight weeks of wage replacement benefits to employees who take time off work to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner. PFL can also provide eight weeks for benefits to employees who take time off to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth or placement of the child in connection with foster care or adoption.

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The City of Chicago becomes the latest city to pass predictive scheduling legislation, also known as the “Fair Workweek Ordinance.” Effective July 1, 2020, this Ordinance requires certain employers to give most workers early notice of their schedules and to pay employees whose schedules are changed after they receive notice.

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On July 10, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed two new bills that expand New York State’s equal pay Labor Law § 194. These new bills specifically (1) expand the scope of New York State’s equal pay law to all protected classes and (2) prohibit employers from asking an applicant about their prior salary history.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it will be collecting data on pay and hours worked from 2017 and 2018. The deadline for employers to submit this information to the EEOC is September 30, 2019.

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Does your company still perform background checks on employees? If you answered yes, then the Ninth Circuit’s recent ruling on background check disclosures applies and you should review your company’s background check disclosures immediately.

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The National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling in SuperShuttle DFW, Inc. returns to a longstanding standard in evaluating proper independent contractor classification. Although its scope is limited, the recent ruling eases restrictions on proper independent contractor classification for purposes of unionization rights under the NLRA, specifically where the workers’ role involves “entrepreneurial opportunity.”

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As employer-provided rideshares and shuttles grow in popularity, employers often ask whether their employees should be paid for their time spent on company-provided transportation. A California appellate court recently affirmed a long-standing rule that, so long as the employer-provided shuttle is optional, the time spent on a company-provided vehicle does not count as “hours worked” and is not compensable.

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San Francisco implemented critical amendments to its “Ban-the-Box”, or “Fair Chance Ordinance” (“FCO”). These amendments went into effect on October 1, 2018.

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In April 2018, Governor Cuomo of New York signed a set of laws aimed at combating sexual harassment in the workplace. New York employers must (1) provide all employees with written policies describing employee protections against sexual harassment and (2) conduct annual sexual harassment prevention trainings with all employees.

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California hotels must display a human trafficking notice in a visible location near the public entrance or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices are customarily posted.

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Starting August 30, 2018, California hotels must display additional signs warning guests of chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.

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California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal-OSHA”) has approved new regulations to prevent workplace injuries to those working in the housekeeping and hospitality industry.

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The City of Los Angeles announced its Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage increase, which applies to hotels in the City of LA with 150 or more rooms.

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The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects the employee right to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of . . . mutual aid or protection.” This includes not only the right to support a union, but also simply the right of employees to converse among themselves on issues affecting their employment. Consequently, any workplace rule explicitly infringing on this right, as well as any rule applied so as to cause such infringement, can be held unlawful. For example, if employees regularly get together before or after work, during which gripes and grievances (or unions) can be discussed, a workplace rule restricting these gatherings will generally be held unlawful.

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In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) introduced regulations affirming that tips are the property of the employee regardless if the employer uses a tip credit under the FLSA. Under this framework, only “customarily tipped employees” can receive distributions from a company tip pool. Tip pools set up by employers to include employees who are not regularly tipped employees are invalid. This limitation applies even where the employees contributing to a tip pool are paid the applicable minimum wage. Moreover, employers and management staff are precluded from receiving any portion of tip pools under the current regulation. The 2011 regulation has led to voluminous litigation over what constitutes a “customarily tipped employee” and has resulted in inconsistent rulings from various courts.

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The newest trend in Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) lawsuits target businesses’ websites. Litigants have increasingly sued or threatened to sue under Title III, alleging that the website is not sufficiently accessible to the disabled (i.e., the website lacks assistive technology for individuals who are blind or hearing-impaired).

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The Trump administration has been ordered to accept new applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) benefits.

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Stokes Wagner recommends that you review and update your employee handbooks annually. This article contains a list of policies and procedures for you to consider adding in your respective employee handbooks.

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To better protect hotel workers against sexual harassment and assault, Chicago passed the “Hands Off Pants On” Ordinance. The Ordinance requires Hotels in the City of Chicago to adopt (1) a “panic button” system and (2) anti-sexual harassment policy.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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