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Mexican food: Sure it’s nice, but is it art?

by on
in Management Training

The owners of a restaurant, apparently attempting to capitalize on the growing popularity of cooking as art, have lost their argument that a cook is exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Recent case: Antonio Garcia sued his former employer, a chain of Mexi­can restaurants operating in New York, for unpaid overtime. Garcia worked as a cook.

The owners argued that Garcia was exempt either as a “creative professional” or a “learned professional” under the FLSA. Under the creative professional category, Garcia would have to be engaged in an artistic endeavor such as “music, writing, acting and the graphic arts.” The court concluded that cooking did not fit.

Neither did the learned professional classification work because “the profession of cook or a chef does not fall into the field of science or learning.” (Garcia, et al., v. Pancho Villa’s, et al., No. 09-CV-486, ED NY, 2011)

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