Jamie Santos
Jamie Santos
Associate Attorney, San Diego, CA
Education
  • B.A., History and International Relations, University of San Diego, Cum Laude
  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, Labor and Employment Law Concentration

I grew up knowing I wanted to be an attorney, even though I didn’t quite know or understand what that entailed. My family always said I’d become a lawyer because of my ability to advocate for myself or others—and my ability to win every argument or debate I got myself into.

I found my niche in labor and employment law during law school. Stokes Wagner drew me in with its personalized approach to client issues. Labor and employment law creates unique opportunities to litigate on behalf of our clients and work intimately with clients. With California’s ever-evolving employment laws, I enjoy counseling clients on a more interactive basis. Working with clients, I help better their business and the lives of their employees. I most enjoy working with our diversified clients in solving and preventing day-to-day issues that arise in the hospitality industry.

When I’m not at my computer, I enjoy traveling with my family and friends, attending concerts or watching sports–usually basketball.

For the third time, California has re-adopted and revised its COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), mirroring current State and local regulations easing pandemic-related restrictions. While the ETS still require employers to establish and train employees on written prevention programs, Cal-OSHA has now removed several protocols including indoor masking, cleaning and disinfection, and vaccination status distinctions.

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On March 16, 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed three bills into law amending and expanding harassment and discrimination protections under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). New York State employers should remain on high alert for additional expansions to come and be ready to review and consult their anti-discrimination and harassment policies and practices to comply with the new protections as they become effective.

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The California Supreme Court set a new, more employee-friendly, evidentiary standard for whistleblower retaliation claims. In Lawson v. PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc., the Court held Labor Code section 1102.6, not the McDonnell Douglas test, provides the appropriate framework for evaluating whistleblower retaliation claims brought under Labor Code section 1102.5. Because of this, employers will have to meet a higher burden to show by clear and convincing evidence that they did not retaliate based on the employee’s alleged whistleblower activities.

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Following the legal challenges facing OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard mandating vaccinations, Florida passed legislation banning private employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccines unless several exemptions are offered to employees. The law, signed during a special legislative session on November 18, 2019, does not explicitly prohibit private employers from mandating vaccination, but rather imposes restrictive requirements on any private business that chooses to implement such a policy.

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Los Angeles County will require proof of vaccination for customers and employees at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges. Under the order, customers and employees at indoor nightlife establishments will need to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 7 and receive the second dose by November 4, 2021. The order will strongly recommend (but fall short of requiring) vaccine verification for indoor restaurants.

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On July 9, 2021, President Biden issued his Executive Order directing federal agencies to implement seventy-two different initiatives intended to promote competition across the American economy. Ideally, these initiatives will spur economic growth and recovery. Critical for employers, President Biden’s “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy” seeks to ban or limit the ability of employers to use non-compete agreements in order to make it easier to change jobs and raise wages. Although the executive order does not render non-compete provisions illegal, employers should take particular caution in deciding whether a non-compete provision is necessary to protect their business interests moving forward.

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On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County’s Health Officer passed a public health order requiring businesses to track the vaccination status of their employees, contractors, or volunteers by June 1, 2021. Businesses must now take steps to determine whether each of their employees is fully vaccinated or not, regardless of whether they are working remotely or on-site. They must also maintain records for each staff member reflecting that person’s vaccinated status.

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On March 19, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 95, providing supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-related leaves and absences. The supplemental paid sick leave requirements apply in addition to previous paid time off requirements, such as statutory paid sick leave or vacation time provided by the employer. Although the statute requirements do not begin until March 29, 2021, the requirements will apply retroactively to January 1, 2021, and are effective through September 30, 2021. Employers should move quickly to examine and revise their policies, practices, and payroll records for compliance.

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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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On Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled that California’s “ABC” test for determining independent contractor status applies retroactively. As a result, employers may be held to a standard not even in effect at the time they made worker classification decisions. The Supreme Court in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. delivered a long-awaited opinion finding that the “ABC test” for independent contractor classification, adopted in its 2018 Dynamex decision, applies retroactively to all pending cases that arose before April 30, 2018. This new ruling will weigh heavily in currently pending misclassification lawsuits where the employer applied pre-Dynamex classification standards.

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On August 11, 2020, Nevada Governor signed Senate Bill No. 4 (SB 4) into law, introducing a myriad of new measures to enhance worker safety related to COVID-19 for employers in the hospitality industry. Specifically, employers will have to grapple with new mandatory cleaning standards, a response plan for testing, and paid time off for employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed. The Department of Health and Human Services adopted regulations pursuant to SB4 on August 31, 2020, making the new measures effective immediately.

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On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court made its long-awaited decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, holding that Title VII protections expand to sexual orientation discrimination. In a landmark ruling, Justice Gorsuch, appointed by President Trump in 2017, delivered the majority opinion, in a move expanding beyond partisanship ideology. In a 6-3 opinion, the Court found that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII under the definition of “sex.” Although many states have already addressed this gap in the law in their own anti-discrimination laws, the ruling resolves a circuit split amongst the federal Courts of Appeals and closes a blind spot in federal law.

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On Monday, May 4, 2020, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (“AHLA”) announced healthy and safety guidelines regarding hygiene and cleanliness standards in line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). The AHLA guidance comes under the direction of its advisory council consisting of 25 industry leaders, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and Omni. The “Safe Stay” program aims to set the standard for hotel hygiene standards post-pandemic and boost consumer confidence per CDC and other public health authorities’ guidance.

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City of LA issues rules and regulations further clarifying supplemental paid sick leave for large employers.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a Public Order on April 7, 2020, mandating supplemental paid sick leave requirements for large employers within Los Angeles and nationwide. This Order expands on the previous ordinance passed by City Council providing supplemental paid sick leave to employers with 500 or more employees nationwide. Please see our previous article for more information on the City Council ordinance.

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On February 13, 2020, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., holding that the time employees spend waiting for their bags and other personal belongings to be screened at the end of a workday is compensable.

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In September 2019, Seattle City Council voted to adopt a series of ordinances aimed at protecting hotel employees. These ordinances go into effect on July 1, 2020. The four separate ordinances include a range of rules that limit the square footage a housekeeping attendant can clean, mandate additional wages to cover health insurance costs, provide panic buttons for certain workers, and provide new regulations for retaining workers after a change in ownership.

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The temporary restraining order (“TRO”) which prevents the enforcement of AB 51 remains in effect until January 31, 2020. As a reminder, California’s AB 51 bars mandatory arbitration agreements in employment agreements. Click here for background on AB 51 and the challenges it faces.

On January 10, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California heard oral argument from both sides as to whether the Court should enjoin the enforcement of AB 51 until the Court decides the challenge on the merits.

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California’s AB 51, barring mandatory arbitration agreements in employment, is now facing preemption and injunction challenges. On December 6, 2019, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, California Chamber of Commerce, and several other business organizations filed suit in federal court against the State of California, alleging that AB 51 is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

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On October 10, 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 51 and AB 9 into law. These two worker-friendly laws may require employers to review and revise current policies and procedures relating to employment-related claims. Specifically, AB 51 prohibits employers from entering into mandatory arbitration agreements for all employment-law related claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Labor Code. Additionally, under AB 9, the deadline for filing an employment-related administrative complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is extended by two years. The laws are set to take effect on January 1, 2020, and may face some challenges in the meantime; however, employers should prepare now for the changes in the landscape of employment-related claims.

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The National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) recently issued a precedent-reversing ruling on August 23, 2019, that allows employers to bar non-employees from leafletting on their premises. In its decision, the Board held that contractor employees are not generally entitled to the same National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Section 7 access rights as the property owner’s employees.

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As spring starts to turn into summer, increases to city and state minimum wages are steadily approaching. Employers should take the time now to ensure that they are ready for minimum wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2019.

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NYC's New Lactation Room Laws

March 21, 2019

Category: Legal Updates

Employers in New York City now have additional requirements for their employee lactation rooms and lactation policies.

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More employees will now be considered non-exempt, as the U.S. Department of Labor raised the minimum salary threshold for workers to qualify for the Fair Labor Standards Act’s “white collar” exemption. In replacing an Obama administration rule, the new proposal would raise the salary threshold requirement from $23,660 to $35,308 per year. As a result, more employees will be subject to compensation for any time exceeding 40 hours in the workweek.

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