LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Present and former U.S. sales reps for eight major drug companies have filed suit against the companies for overtime pay allegedly due.
The plaintiffs -- including tens of thousands of pharmaceutical representatives -- charge that AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Hoffman Laroche, GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer failed to compensate them for overtime work in violation of federal and state labor laws.
"We will seek to prove that thousands of employees from the major drug companies are being denied their overtime pay," said Eric Kingsley of Kingsley & Kingsley, one of two law firms representing plaintiffs. "They work very long hours, 55 to 60 hours a week and sometimes even more than that."
According to the plaintiffs, the defendant drug companies claim that their salespeople are exempt from the labor laws on overtime pay, but the plaintiffs counter that "they actually don't sell anything."
The lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts in New York, New Jersey and California.
News of the lawsuits comes on the heels of Pfizer's announcement Wednesday that it plans to cut its sales force by 20 percent as part of a restructuring plan.