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Salary Exempt? Vocational School Instructor

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  • Salary Exempt? Vocational School Instructor

    Good evening.

    I work as a Chef Instructor at a culinary school in California. A discussion has recently arisen regarding the exact nature of our employment, ie salary exempt vs salary nonexempt. When I was hired my offer letter and paper work specified my salary but didnt say anything about exempt vs nonexempt status. Now the company is saying we are exampt based on the professional exemption. The problem arises in actually reading the rules it seems like we do not fully fall under that exemption. For instance our position only requires a Certificate level of culinary training although Associate of Occupational Studies is preferred. Additionally we are not licensed or certified by the Sate of California for our position.

    Our day to day duties of teaching a class involve demonstrating cooking dishes based on published recipes that are standard for all of our schools, observing students as they repeat the recipes, lecturing on culinary topics and then grading of papers and tracking student attendance.

    Other schools that our parent company owns requires bachelors and masters degrees for many of their positions but the culinary positions for most faculty require associate degrees at most.

    Based on this information should we be qualified as exempt or should I consult a lawyer for a more in depth look?



  • #2
    How about contacting the DLSE (if you can actually get through)?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      Ok, so youre saying it sounds like I should try and get a hold of the DLSE? Ive tried calling but as you said, getting them to answer can be difficult.


      • #4
        Check back over the next day or two. There are a couple of responders here who are better at California-specific law than I am.
        You also might want to search the federal DOL opinion letters page and see if your type of job has been addressed before.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          Great thanks for that link. It would appear we qualify for the exemption, which is fine, just wanted to know for sure. Now having said that if anyone has information that might be more specific to California law I'd love to hear it.


          • #6
            13(a)1 / 541.300

            Section 541.303(a) defines the term "employee employed in a bona fide professional capacity" in section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA to include "any employee with a primary duty of teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in the activity of imparting knowledge and who is employed and engaged in this activity as a teacher in an educational establishment by which the employee is employed." As stated in Fact Sheet #17D pertaining to this exemption, the primary duty of teaching "includes, by its very nature, exercising discretion and judgment." Exempt teachers include teachers of skilled and semi-skilled trades, in addition to regular academic teachers and others, see 29 CFR 541.303(b).

            Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. ยง213(a)(1), provides a complete minimum wage and overtime pay exemption for any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity, as those terms are defined in regulations 29 C.F.R. Part 541

            As required under part 541, the school, must be licensed by a state agency responsible for the state's educational system or accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization for career schools.

            see this link


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