Pharmaceutical Salespersons Qualify As FLSA Exempt, holds 9th Circuit

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In Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, an overtime case brought by pharmaceutical sales representatives “PSR’s”, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s summary judgment for the employer, holding the plaintiffs were outside salespersons and therefore exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act “FLSA”.

SmithKline Beecham Corporation “Glaxo” hired plaintiffs in 2003 to meet with physicians and encourage them to prescribe Glaxo pharmaceuticals.  Plaintiffs spent most of their time traveling to the offices of physicians within their assigned territories.  Plaintiffs claimed they worked between 10 and 20 hours each week outside of normal business hours, for which they received no overtime wages.  Plaintiffs did not sell the drugs or negotiate prices or contracts with physicians, rather, they attempted to, and did obtain commitments from physicians to use Glaxo products when appropriate.  Plaintiffs received a salary and incentive-based compensation, which was paid if market share, sales volume, revenue, or dose volume increased in their sales territory.

Read more @ AALRR Labor & Employment Law Blog.

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