I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
CA law never mandates that an employee must be classified as salary exempt. An employer may classify an employee salary exempt under certain circumstances, but there is no situation in which an employer could not choose to refuse to designate someone as salary exempt.
If your employer wants to designate you as an hourly employee, at least legally, you have no choice in the matter. They may do that under CA law.
Under the circumstances, and given that the law allows your employer to designate you as a non-exempt employee, then you are non-exempt.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.
Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.
Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,