Big New York Wage and Hour News: Pharmacy Giant Schering-Plough Loses Appeal

Pharmaceutical giants Schering-Plough and Novartis received some bad news at the end of 2010 regarding their wage and hour violation cases.

In case you haven’t been tuning into the news, both Novartis and Schering-Plough got slapped with suits for failing to pay their sales representatives fairly, pursuant to FLSA overtime laws and regulations. One of the key issues is whether the sales representatives can be classified as employees who deserve overtime pay, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. From the court rulings so far, it appears that the big drug makers may have trouble trying to prove that their salespeople are exempt:

• First of all, Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulations prohibit drug maker representatives from selling directly to doctors. Therefore, even the moniker “sales rep” is in some sense incorrect.
• Second, the staff are not given serious autonomy – thus, the courts are saying that they must be wage workers.
• The District Court found that: “Schering did not meet its burden to prove that their reps should be exempted from FLSA overtime pay requirements… We have considered all of Schering’s contentions on this appeal and have found them to be without merit.”

Obviously, the big drug makers will likely fight as hard as they can because of the huge amounts of money at stake. But the courts appear to be pretty clear, and we may soon witness an industry-wide recalibration, based on the fallout of cases like Schering’s and Novartis’.

Whether you have been denied overtime pay, forced to labor in a hostile work environment, or demoted, fired or not hired due to your gender, skin color, or religious belief, the law offers you abundant resources and protections. Look to the firm of Joseph & Kirschenbaum to get a free case evaluation today. Learn more at www.jhllp.com, or call to set up your free consultation at (212) 688-5640.