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Pharmaceutical Representatives Qualify as Outside Salesmen

Published by on June 22, 2012

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 – 4 that drug company representatives will continue to be classified as exempt under the “outside salesmen” exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act.  More after the break. The suit was brought on behalf of two GlaxoSmithKline representatives who often worked in excess of 40 hours per […]

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 – 4 that drug company representatives will continue to be classified as exempt under the “outside salesmen” exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act.  More after the break.

The suit was brought on behalf of two GlaxoSmithKline representatives who often worked in excess of 40 hours per week and alleged that they were owed overtime wages.  Justice Alito wrote for the majority in holding that the representatives were appropriately classified as exempt under the outside sales exemption.  He noted that the current classification of pharmaceutical workers fits more comfortably with the purpose of the FLSA because these workers are typically compensated well above minimum wage.   The dissenting opinion by Justice Breyer highlighted that the workers do not classify as “outside salesmen” because their primary duty does not involve making sales.  Rather, they obtain non-binding commitments from doctors to prescribe their drugs.

To read a Washington Post article about the case, click here.  The opinion can be found here.  The Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has a post on the case here.

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