Abbott sales reps win overtime-pay lawsuit

Overtime or no overtime? In the ongoing battle over whether pharma reps are due overtime pay, chalk up a win for the reps. A federal judge has ruled that Abbott Laboratories salespeople aren't exempt from overtime laws--and that they should be paid for the extra hours they work, Pharmalot reports

Drugmakers have designated their reps as "outside salespeople," who aren't eligible for overtime pay. But the salespeople themselves have been disputing that designation in court. They've also fought claims that they're administrative workers, who also are exempt from OT laws.

In the Abbott case, the judge nixed both anti-overtime defenses. Pharma reps don't actually collect sales orders or contracts, so the outside sales exemption doesn't apply, Judge Ruben Castillo decided. And reps aren't independent enough--with enough power to make their own decisions--to qualify for the admin exemption, Castillo ruled.

As BNet Pharma reports, the reps' battles for overtime have met mixed results: Reps for Schering-Plough, Boehringer Ingelheim and now Abbott have won in court, while Novartis and Ortho-McNeil reps have lost. A case involving Amgen and its reps remains pending. Some legal types think the issue is destined to end up at the Supreme Court because of the contradictory rulings.

- read the Pharmalot post
- see the article at BNet