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Federal Appeals Court Rules Pharmaceutical 'Sales' Reps Entitled to Overtime Pay
Date:7/6/2010

NEW YORK, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- A unanimous United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that pharmaceutical "sales" representatives whose primary job duty is to visit doctor's offices, drop off drug samples and announce pre-scripted messages describing their employer's pharmaceuticals, are entitled to overtime pay under federal, New York state and California law.  The appeals court vacated the judgment of the district court and held that the "Reps" are not subject to either the federal and state "outside sales" or "administrative" exemptions to overtime pay. In December, 2009 the United States Department of Labor filed an amicus appeal brief in support of the sales reps, a rare step for the DOL.

Jeremy Heisler of Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP, ("SWH") the law firm representing the Novartis Reps called the Second Circuit decision "extremely significant" both for the Novartis overtime litigation and also for a number of overtime lawsuits pharmaceutical sales reps are bringing against their employers throughout the country.

"In effect" commented Mr. Heisler, "the Second Circuit not only reversed the trial judge's dismissal of the Novartis Reps' overtime case, but has now held, as a matter of law, that Novartis owes its Reps overtime pay.  The Reps are not excluded from overtime pay under either the outside sales or administrative exemptions.  The only thing left to decide is how much Novartis owes."  The Novartis result is especially important, said Heisler, because it is the first federal appellate decision finding that the outside sales and administrative exemptions don't cover pharmaceutical sales reps. 


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SOURCE Sanford Wittels & Heisler, LLP
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