California School of Culinary Arts v. Lujan, 112 Cal. App. 4th 16 (2003)

The employer, California School of Culinary Arts (CSCA), failed to pay its instructors overtime under Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order 4-2001 on the ground that the instructors were subject to the professional exemption of the Wage Order. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) disagreed, contending that the exemption did not apply because CSCA is a cooking school and not an accredited college or university. The trial court granted CSCA’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that CSCA possessed all of the “indicia of a ‘college’“ even though it is a trade school and does not have a four-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of CSCA on the ground, among others, that the separate statement of undisputed facts that the school filed in support of its motion for summary judgment was uncontroverted by the DLSE’s “totally deficient” statements of material fact that lacked reference to any evidence. The Court further held that the DLSE’s policies and procedures manual does not have the force of law and is an “underground regulation.”