The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a Ninth Circuit ruling that the Fair Labor Standards Act’s outside sales exemption applies to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) pharmaceutical sales representatives and that they are not entitled to overtime compensation. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion directly conflicts with a Second Circuit opinion where that court held the exact opposite – that the outside sales exemption did not apply to pharmaceutical sales representatives at Novartis Pharm. Corp. and Schering-Plough Corp.
The GSK sales representatives are also asking the Supreme Court to advise federal courts to give deference to the amicus briefs filed on by the U.S. Department of Labor supporting thier position that the outside sales exemption does not apply to them.
Since the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the outside sales exemption or any other white collar exemptions under the FLSA, the Court’s analysis will likely shed light on the status of those individuals who perform sales but are uncertain if they qualify for mandatory overtime pay under federal law.