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September 13, 2010

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps: Nonexempt

Filed under: General HR Buzz1:50 pm

We’ve all seen them in doctors’ offices.  They wait around hoping to talk to physicians and provide drug samples to them.

Well, apparently a large number of them felt they were misclassified as exempt employees and sued.   In a recent 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals case,  In re Novartis Wage and Hour Litigation, thousands of Novartis sales representatives alleged that  they were improperly classified as exempt employees and so should be paid overtime.

Despite the fact that many of these drug reps are often well educated and very highly paid, the court found that they did not meet the tests for exempt status.  They didn’t qualify under the outside sales test because they did not actually “sell” drugs to anyone.  Rather they promote products and educate physicians about them.  They also failed to qualify under the administrative exemption because they did not exercise the required level of discretion and independent judgment.

What does this mean for you…other than to look at these drug reps differently the next time you visit your doctor?   It’s yet another reminder to review your exempt classifications.   It’s also a good lesson that just because an employee has a “professional position,” significant education or is well paid, s/he isn’t necessarily an exempt employee.   Be wary too, of “sales type” employees who work outside the office but don’t actually sell.

Can You Guess the 10 Lowest Paying College Degrees?

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it certainly can help make life easier. College graduates do average at least $20,000 more per year than non-grads and have lower unemployment rates.  But many college degrees don’t come with big salaries.  Hopefully, there are other rewards attached.

The 10 lowest starting salaries are:

  • Social Work ($33,400)
  • Elementary Education ($33,500)
  • Theology ($33,800)
  • Music ($34,000)
  • Spanish ($35,600)
  • Horticulture ($37,200)
  • Education ($36,200)
  • Hospitality ($37,000)
  • Fine Arts ($35,800)
  • Drama ($35,600)
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