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Novartis Sales Rep California Overtime


Although California pharmaceutical sales representative jobs are usually considered exempt from overtime pay, recent lawsuits involving California Novartis sales reps challenge that exemption. The courts, supported by the Department of Labor, have found that Novartis sales representatives do not have authority or discretion in their job and are not directly involved in selling the product. In such cases, the Novartis pharmaceutical sales may have been misclassified as exempt from California overtime laws and may be eligible for California overtime compensation.

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California Overtime and Novartis Sales Representatives

prescriptionbottle Under California overtime laws, employees are entitled to one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked that are in excess of eight hours in a workday. Furthermore, under both California overtime laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees are entitled to overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a workweek.

California Novartis Pharmaceutical Sales and the Fair Labor Standards Act

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), people who are involved in outside sales are typically considered exempt from overtime pay. That is because people involved in outside sales have unlimited earning potential due to their commissions—the more they sell, the more they can make. Furthermore, they often work independently from a main office and have discretion in what hours they work.

California Novartis Sales Overtime Pay

novartissalesreps For a long time, California pharmaceutical sales representatives were considered exempt from overtime pay. They could be considered exempt on one of two counts: either as outside sales people or under the administrative exemption, if they have discretion and authority in their job.

Some recent lawsuits, however, have resulted in the courts determining that some pharmaceutical sales reps are not exempt from overtime pay—that is, they should be paid overtime for their hours worked—because they do not fall under either the outside sales exemption or the administrative exemption.

California Novartis Sales Representative Overtime Lawsuit

A lawsuit filed against Novartis alleged that Novartis sales representatives should be paid overtime because they do not meet the requirements for overtime exemption. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the Novartis pharmaceutical sales representatives, finding that the Novartis sales representatives should be paid overtime.

The court found that the content of the sales pitches was controlled by Novartis and Novartis sales reps were not allowed to alter those pitches in any way, meaning they had no discretion over the tone or content of the sales pitches. This led the court to conclude that Novartis sales representatives do not fall under the guidelines of administrative exemption because they did not have any authority over Novartis management policies or practices.

Furthermore, Novartis sales reps did not fall under the "outside salesmen" exemption because their primary duty was not making sales or obtaining orders. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that Novartis sales reps promote pharmaceuticals, but do not sell them. All the sales reps do is present information to physicians. It is up to the physician to prescribe the medication and then up to the patient to fill that prescription. That is, the drugs are not technically "sold" until the patient who has been prescribed a particular medicine has gone to have his prescription filled at a pharmacy or drug store.

Similar lawsuits are also underway against SmithKline Beecham (also known as GlaxoSmithKline) and Merck.

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