MESA, Ariz., March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 8, attorneys at the Arizona law firm of JacksonWhite filed a collective action lawsuit against Sunovion Pharmaceuticals for failure to pay its employees the overtime wages to which they are entitled under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon on behalf of all Sunovion pharmaceutical reps employed in the U.S. from March 2009 until the present.
Michael Pruitt is lead counsel for the individual and collective plaintiffs. "This case is about seeing to it that Sunovion employees are fully compensated for the long hours it takes to meet Sunovion's demands," said Pruitt. Sunovion requires its employees to work well over forty hours per week, and it has never paid its employees overtime wages, despite the overtime requirement that is clearly defined and outlined by federal law. Sunovion's willful violation of this law could entitle Sunovion reps to damages of up to two times the amount of overtime wages that Sunovion should have paid them over the past three years.
Sunovion's policy of withholding overtime wages is by no means unique. Industry-wide, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies have knowingly misclassified their pharmaceutical reps as exempt from the FLSA's overtime requirement. The tide seems to be turning, however, as reps have banded together en masse to assert their legal rights. In January 2012, for instance, a Federal Court in New York preliminarily approved a 99 million dollar settlement for Novartis reps that were unlawfully deprived of overtime wages.
In addition to the Sunovion lawsuit, JacksonWhite has a collective action lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline that is presently pending review at the U.S. Supreme Court. The attorneys working on the case are cautiously optimistic about its outcome, and they expect that a favorable decision by the justices could lead to a revolution in the way in which pharmaceutical reps are compensated. If the Supreme Court sides with reps in the Glaxo case, it is that much more likely that Sunovion reps will also prevail on their claim.
Importantly, Sunovion reps can only participate in this collective action lawsuit if they provide a written consent to join. And given that there is a statute of limitations in these types of cases, reps who delay are subject to losing damages to which they might otherwise be entitled. The attorneys at JacksonWhite are interested in speaking with Sunovion reps about opting in to this collective action. Reps who work for other companies might also be able to join a legal action, or file a new action against the company for which they work. For more information, contact JacksonWhite at 480-779-0993 or visit www.pharmaovertime.com.
SOURCE Jackson White P.C.