BMS sales rep joins fight for overtime pay

For those of you tracking the sales-rep overtime fight, here's another lawsuit to add to the list. A former rep for Bristol-Myers Squibb has sued the company for back pay, and he's seeking class-action status for the suit. The suit claims that Jeffrey Bethune, who left the company in 2008, is entitled to OT because he--and his fellow reps--was not exempt from overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to Bethune's attorney, Charles Joseph of Joseph, Herzfeld Hester & Kirschenbaum, the Department of Labor is on the reps' side; he cites the feds' friend of the court briefs supporting reps' OT claims. In a statement about the case, Joseph also mentions decisions from the Second Circuit appeals court, which ruled in favor of overtime pay for Novartis reps and, in a separate case, for Schering-Plough salespeople.

What Joseph doesn't mention is that other courts have ruled against overtime pay for reps--including another appeals court. In two separate cases, the Third Circuit determined that Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca reps should be salaried employees ineligible for overtime. And as Pharmalot notes, one federal district judge sided with Alpharma--now a King Pharmaceuticals unit, and soon to be part of Pfizer--in an overtime case.

- read the release from Joseph, Herzfeld
- get the Pharmalot coverage