The law firms of Joseph, Herzfeld, Hester & Kirschenbaum, Kingsley & Kingsley, and attorney Michael Dichiara, which represented the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the suit charged that plaintiffs often worked in excess of 40 hours a week but were misclassified as exempt and received an annual salary without overtime pay at the mandatory rate of time and one half. Attorney Charles Joseph, a partner with Joseph, Herzfeld, stated: “The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes that pharmaceutical reps are not exempt from overtime pay,” adding that the department has filed at least four friend of the court briefs in support of overtime compensation for pharma reps.
Dichiara noted that the ruling is the first of its kind as it found that reps are not exempt under any of the parts of the exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Schering had to prove all the parts of the exemption, but it lost on all points.
Joseph explained that the precedent for the class claim was set in the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which found earlier this year that Novartis pharma reps were entitled to overtime compensation on the same grounds alleged against Schering Plough. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the drug companies’ appeals (see High Court Lets Stand Ruling that Novartis Reps Are Due OT).Joseph’s firm also represents plaintiffs in lawsuits filed in state and federal courts in New York, New Jersey and California against drug giants AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Hoffman Laroche, GlaxoSmithKline, and Bayer (see Pharmaceutical Companies Face Overtime Pay Suits).
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