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Novartis Reps Win $99M Overtime Class Action Settlement

By Mike Holter

 

NovartisPharmaceutical sales reps for Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG have won a $99 million class action lawsuit settlement, resolving claims they were unlawfully denied overtime pay.

The Novartis overtime settlement covers more than 7,000 current and former sales representatives and will resolve a 2006 class action lawsuit that claims pharmaceutical reps don’t qualify as “outside sales” employees, and therefore aren’t exempt from overtime pay.

“We believe this settlement is in the best interest of our employees and the company,” Andre Wyss, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., said in a statement. “We have been litigating this case for nearly six years and the company has determined that it is time to resolve these wage and hours claims.”

The Novartis lawsuit is just one of many pharmaceutical rep overtime class action lawsuits filed against major drugmakers in recent years. Some lawsuits focus on the “outside sales” exemption, as the Novartis claims do, while others focus on the management exemption, which claims reps don’t have enough control over their own choices to qualify as managers under the law.

Similar overtime class action lawsuits have been filed against GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Merck & Co.

The Novartis overtime class action lawsuit case is In Re: Novartis Wage and Hour Litigation, 06-md-01794, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

 

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Updated February1st, 2012

 

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