Friday, September 09, 2011

Solis v. State of Washington (9th Cir. - Sept. 9, 2011)

This will show you how easy it is to apply the FLSA's "learned professional" exemption, which says that employers don't have to pay overtime to someone who works in a job that requires "knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction;" e.g., doctors, lawyers, etc.

Which of the following, if any, are "learned professionals":

(A)  Athletic trainers.
(B)  Probation officers.
(C)  Game wardens.
(D)  Emergency medical technicians.

Give up?  (A) and (C) are indeed professionals, according to the Fifth and Tenth Circuits, respectively.  (B) and (D) aren't, according to the Eleventh and Fifth Circuits, respectively.

What percentage did you get right?  No way I'd have gotten 100% before reading the Ninth Circuit's opinion on the issue.

Here's your bonus question:  According to the Ninth Circuit this morning, are social workers in Washington State learned professionals?  Additional relevant facts:  To be a social worker there, you have to have a bachelor's degree in certain specified fields (e.g., counseling, psychology, social work, etc. -- majors like history, law, nursing, and law enforcement don't count), complete a six-week training program in social work, and have eighteen months of experience in social work.

According to the Ninth Circuit, the answer is "No."  Not learned professionals.

Get that one right as well?