Drug firm reps sue for overtime
Joseph & Kirschenbaum partner Charles Joseph's work representing pharmaceutical sales representatives got some notice from the National Law Journal (March 20, 2007). The representatives claim they are incorrectly classified as exempt from overtime, costing them as much as 30 hours a week in extra pay. In the article, Joseph defends charges that the representatives are well compensated and receive bonuses for their successes. Maybe that was once so, he told the journal, but they now feel like "pharm-bots" reduced to delivering a scripted speech and dropping off information.
A series of lawsuits against fine dining spots in New York City attracts the attention of the New York Times (May 12, 2007). Partner D. Maimon Kirschenbaum represented employees of the Heartland Brewery who sued over time card “shaving” and requirements to work off the clock. He also represented a waiter at B. B. King Blues Club and Grill who alleged that his paycheck was illegally docked after customers walked out without paying. New York State labor commissioner M. Patricia Smith told the paper that “cutting corners” had become standard practice in the restaurant industry.
Partner Charles Joseph's lawsuits against Abbott Laboratories and Bristol-Myers-Squibb for failing to pay overtime to pharmaceutical sales representatives appear on Pharmalot.com (June 28, 2007). The drug makers classified sales reps as "exempt" employees, but in reality, Joseph explained, they have no sales or decision-making responsibility and work 60 to 70 hours a week without overtime compensation.
A lawsuit against Chicago's Abbott Laboratories is covered by the Chicago Tribune (June 29, 2007). The claim is part of a series of lawsuits alleging that pharmaceutical sales representatives from many companies were denied millions in overtime pay. Partner Charles Joseph told the newspaper that the representatives were improperly classified as salespeople exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, noting that they rarely sold anything. The drug reps, who are charged with convincing doctors to prescribe their employers' drugs, alleged that they worked as much as 12 to 18 hours a day.
BusinessWeek Magazine (Oct. 1, 2007) gives its readers an overview of the rise in important wage and hour work done by employee rights law firms like ours. Joseph & Kirschenbaum founding partner Charles Joseph gets a nod for his work in unpaid overtime lawsuits against every major drug maker, showing that employers are happy to deny overtime to salaried white-collar workers as well as blue-collar or tipped employees.
The New York Times (August 3, 2007) covers a lawsuit by partner D. Maimon Kirschenbaum alleging that managers at one of New York's most famous restaurants illegally helped themselves to servers' tips. Plaintiffs Aaron Pau and Alisa Agofonova, both former waiters at Nobu's group of restaurants, also allege that the restaurants failed to pay them overtime to which they were legally entitled. In New York, Kirschenbaum explains in the article, restaurants may pay waiters substantially less than the state minimum wage because they're tipped employees -- but only if managers don't get a cut from those tips.