Non-Exempt Pharmaceutical Sales Reps Sue for Overtime

Following a Connecticut district court’s denial of summary judgment to the employer in Ruggeri v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (pdf), a collective action brought by pharmaceutical sales representatives who claimed they were improperly classified as exempt employees, the pharmaceutical company has been hit with another putative collective action by sales representatives seeking overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  But in this new case, Lopez-Lima v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (pdf), filed on July 21, 2010, in the federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, plaintiffs allege that Boehringer hired them as “non-exempt commission-paid pharmaceuticals sales representative[s].” 

This claim by employees classified as “non-exempt” is a new twist in the overtime class and collective actions that continue to proliferate in the pharmaceutical industry.  In the previous Boehringer suit, as in most other pharmaceutical sales representative cases, sales representatives classified as exempt employees claimed they did not satisfy the criteria for the FLSA’s administrative and/or outside sales representative exemptions. In contrast to these cases, it appears that the issues in this new case against Boehringer may likely be whether the non-exempt sales representatives are performing “off the clock work” or are correctly paid commissions.  If so, this may signal an interesting new approach in pharmaceutical sales representatives overtime cases.  We will continue to keep our eye on this case to see where it leads.

This entry was written by Michele Malloy.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.