King reps lose fight for overtime pay

In the ongoing fight about sales rep overtime pay, chalk up a win for management. As BNet Pharma reports, reps at King Pharmaceuticals' (NYSE: KG) Alpharma unit lost their bid to break out of the overtime exemption. The judge's ruling brings the number of overtime cases decided in favor of drugmakers to three.

Several recent cases went the other way: Novartis reps won their claims for overtime after a judge ruled that they not only aren't sales reps--because they don't close sales in the field the way reps in other industries do--but they also aren't administrative workers because they have very little autonomy on the job. Abbott Laboratories reps won an overtime ruling, as have reps for Schering-Plough (now owned by Merck) and Boehringer Ingelheim.

But how will the appeals courts decide? The Third Circuit has ruled in favor of drugmakers--AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson's Ortho McNeil unit, respectively--in saying that reps are indeed managerial, and thus exempt. Presumably Novartis and others will also take their losses to the higher courts; some believe the issue will end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

- read the BNet piece
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