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Stryker Overtime Lawsuit Goes Ahead

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An overtime lawsuit against Stryker is going ahead after the medical device company was denied a summary judgment motion seeking to dismiss the litigation.

Santa Clara, CALast month Stryker sales associates won a series of procedural victories in their California labor overtime lawsuit. The complaint claims that the giant medical device company failed to pay its sale associates overtime wages, failed to provide meal and rest breaks, and failed to reimburse their business expenses. Stryker classified them as outside sales exempt during training, but plaintiffs allege they were misclassified as overtime-exempt.

As a prerequisite to certification as a Sales Associate, the medical device company requires trainees to enroll in its grueling four-month training program. When qualified, sales employees pitch and sell Stryker’s medical products across a range of medical specialties, including spine, trauma, and ENT. Plaintiffs Jonathan Jerozal and Nikki Gin filed the class action lawsuit in June 2022, alleging that Stryker Sales Associates and Sales Representatives (collectively, “Sales Associates”) were misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation during their extensive, mandatory training period and were required to work more than 40 hours per week without overtime pay in violation of state and federal law. In addition, Stryker failed to pay the plaintiffs other wages and compensation owed under state laws.

According to plaintiffs’ lawyers, trainees do not qualify for the outside sales exemption, or any other arguable exemption under the law. The lawsuit details Stryker’s company-wide policies of failing to relieve Sales Associate trainees of duties so that they may take meal and rest breaks or to pay the required meal and rest break penalties when such breaks are not allowed – violations of the California labor code. As well, the lawsuit describes non-payment of business expenses connected with the performance of Sales Associate duties, including cell phone, internet, and data costs.

Sales Associates worked 70 to 80 hours per week through their four-month training program, work that included attendance at classroom lectures, completion of training modules, shadowing certified Sales Associates, completion of weekly exams, and completion of physical exams demonstrating product knowledge. In order to complete their training duties and successfully pass the training program. Jerozal’s lawyer said in a  press release that, “Our clients’ clear rights to overtime wages as employees were ignored, and this lawsuit seeks to redress those offenses and get them the rightfully-earned compensation they are due for their time and efforts on Stryker’s behalf.”

Stryker tried to escape the former workers' wage claims by claiming that the workers were under daily supervision of its subsidiaries and it was not their employer. But U.S. District Judge George Wu argued that, although the workers (plaintiffs) were not able to prove that Stryker, rather than its subsidiaries, exercised day-to-day control over their working schedules or employment conditions, Stryker still could have had the power to fire them and there was evidence the company was involved in determining pay methods and rates. As further evidence of Stryker’s employer status, the company employee handbooks identify Stryker specifically as the entity that determines which employees are full- or part-time and overtime-exempt.

The case is Jerozal et al. v. Stryker Corp., case number 2:22-cv-4094, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.


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