UPDATE: Total Victory for Schering-Plough (Now Merck) Pharmaceutical Reps in National Suit for Overtime Pay

Aug 09, 2011, 09:25 ET from Joseph, Herzfeld, Hester & Kirschenbaum LLP

NEW YORK, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck's Schering-Plough unit current and former pharmaceutical representatives won a complete victory late Friday night in an opinion issued by a Federal Court in Connecticut. Kuzinski v. Schering Corporation, 3:07cv233 (August 5, 2011)

The law firms of Joseph, Herzfeld, Hester & Kirschenbaum, Kingsley & Kingsley and attorney Michael Dichiara represent the plaintiffs in a Nationwide Collective Law Suit.  The suit charged that plaintiffs often worked in excess of 40 hours per week but received an annual salary without overtime pay at the mandatory rate of time and one half.  The amount to be distributed to the class will be determined by the Court but will likely include double damages for the violation. The federal class action was filed on behalf of all pharma reps who worked for Schering during the last three years, anywhere in the United States.

Attorney Charles Joseph, a partner with Joseph Herzfeld, stated "The US Department of Labor recognizes that pharmaceutical reps are not exempt from overtime pay," adding that the department has filed at least four friend of the court briefs in support of overtime compensation for pharma reps.

Joseph explained that the precedent for the class claim was set in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which found earlier this year that Novartis pharma reps were entitled to overtime compensation on the same grounds alleged against Schering. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the drug companies' appeals. The Second Circuit issued a similar ruling in a case brought by pharma reps against Schering, as have federal courts in Connecticut, Illinois, Florida and Texas in cases against Boehringer Ingelheim, Abbott, and Auxilum Pharmaceuticals. But, said attorney Dichiara, this ruling is the first of its kind as it found that reps are not exempt under any of the parts of the exemption. Schering had to prove all the parts of the exemption, but it lost on all points.

"This company has violated the labor law, and is now being held accountable by the Court.  This is why our clients filed the lawsuit.  Schering pharmaceutical reps are owed a lot of money for the often extraordinarily long hours they worked with no additional compensation," Joseph said. "This is justice achieved. The law in the Second Circuit (covering New York, Connecticut and Vermont) is clear, and we expect the same result in the class action overtime claims we have filed here against other drug companies."

For more information and a copy of the decision, see www.pharmarepovertime.com or call toll free (866) 348-7394.

Joseph, Herzfeld, Hester & Kirschenbaum LLP (www.jhllp.com) is a New York City employment law firm dedicated to representing employees who are victims of discrimination, wage and hour violations, harassment or other illegal and unfair treatment in the workplace. It handles individual claims and class actions brought by employees throughout the United States.

SOURCE Joseph, Herzfeld, Hester & Kirschenbaum LLP



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