Supreme Court Issues Ruling on OT For Outside Sales Reps

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The U.S. Supreme Court just issued its much-anticipated ruling in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham, ruling 5-4 that pharmaceutical sales reps are exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outside sales exemption.

The decision in 100 words or less

The ruling is considered a major victory for pharmaceutical employers. In short, the Supreme Court found that the U.S. Department of Labor’s arguments were “flatly inconsistent” with the statute itself. As a result, pharma employers weren’t on “clear notice” of potential violations and the DOL’s enforcement was an “unfair surprise.”

What does it mean for non-pharma employers?

While the ruling basically only applies to pharmaceutical companies, it could make the Department of Labor think a bit longer and harder before taking other aggressive FLSA positions to court.

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Click here to read the full 14-page Supreme Court opinion.

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at