Novartis Reps’ OT Claims Reinstated

July 7, 2010 ( – A federal appellate court has reinstated claims by 2,500 current and former Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. sales representatives that they had been improperly denied overtime despite working more than 40 hours a week. 

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lower court ruling that had dismissed a consolidated case against Novartis, saying the sales representatives were outside salespersons who were exempt from the federal Fair Labor Standards act (FLSA) overtime payment requirement, the New York Law Journal reported.  

The ruling covers employees of Novartis in New York, California, and other states who brought suits that were consolidated in New York. The plaintiffs claimed they were underpaid between March 23, 2000, and April 7, 2007. 

According to the Law Journal report, the plaintiffs are Novartis representatives who cannot “sell” the drugs directly to doctors, but who make regular “calls” that usually last about five minutes and inquire whether the doctors will prescribe Novartis’ pharmaceuticals to their patients.  

A Novartis spokeswoman said in a statement that the company is disappointed in the decision and is considering its options.