More reps sue Novo for back overtime

Another batch of sales reps has sued Novo Nordisk ($NVO) for overtime. The would-be class action suit, which was filed by two reps, is seeking $70 million in overtime pay. Like so many other lawsuits--pending and otherwise--this one alleges a drugmaker misclassified its reps as exempt salaried workers when they should have been eligible for overtime.

As Reuters reports, it's actually the second overtime suit lodged against the Danish drugmaker. A California firm sued Novo on behalf of one group of reps last summer. This time, it's a New York firm--Sanford Wittels & Heisler--that's been involved in several other pharma overtime actions.

The new lawsuit comes at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments in another overtime case. After different appeals courts came up with differing interpretations of the Fair Labor Standards Act--and how it applies to pharma reps--the Supreme Court agreed to consider an appeal in GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) overtime case. Former GSK reps ended up on the wrong side of a Circuit Court ruling--in the Ninth Circuit, which has tended to side with the companies--and the Supremes took up the case.

A host of leading drugmakers have been sued by their reps for back overtime pay. Some companies have prevailed--Bayer, Roche ($RHHBY) and Wyeth, PM Live points out--but others, including Novartis ($NVS), face payouts in the tens of millions. If the Supreme Court contradicts the Ninth Circuit's ruling, more reps with overtime complaints are likely to turn up in court.

- check out the Sanford Wittels release
- read the Reuters news
- get more from PM Live