Endo reps jump on overtime-suit bandwagon

Endo Pharmaceuticals sales reps are the latest group to sue their employer for back overtime pay. Led by plaintiff Susan Quinn, the reps claim Endo pays them as if they are exempt from overtime under U.S. law, but that they shouldn't be classified that way. The suit won class-action status earlier this week, Reuters reports.

Drugmakers have been hit with a series of lawsuits over reps' employment status. Most recently, a former Bristol-Myers Squibb rep sued that company for back pay. The suits have had mixed results: Abbott Laboratories and Novartis reps won blessings from a federal appeals court in their overtime suits, but salespeople from King Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca lost appeals in a different circuit. 

Meanwhile, the Labor Department has jumped into the fray, filing friend-of-the-court briefs in some appeals cases. Two GlaxoSmithKline reps recently got federal backing after losing their appeal; Labor lawyers want the entire appeals court to rehear their case.

And the Supreme Court recently got a chance to consider the issue--but refused. Novartis asked the high court to hear its appeal in that overtime suit, only to be rejected. The company now faces paying $100 million in back pay to its sales reps, but it's naturally exploring its legal options. How the court's decision will affect other suits remains unclear; it didn't comment on the merits of Novartis' case.

- read the Reuters news