LEO taken to court over overtime pay

 Four former sales representatives of LEO Pharma have filed a class action complaint in New York claiming the company denied them overtime and other wage and hour practices.

The suit details how LEO allegedly violated the US Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state overtime laws in New York, California and Washington after reps failed to receive overtime pay and other work-related benefits.

Deborah Marcuse, representing the four plaintiffs, said the “egregious practices” of LEO had allowed it to “enrich its bottom line at the expense of the economic wellbeing of its sales force”.

The lawsuit follows a similar case against Novartis a few weeks ago where it was ordered to pay $99million. GSK are also facing similar allegations when a case goes to the United States Supreme Court in April.

Each of the plaintiffs is seeking to represent all sales representatives at LEO Pharma in the federal collective action under the FLSA. Three of the plaintiffs are also seeking to represent class members under the state laws of California, Washington and New York.

The plaintiffs seek to represent everybody who works, or has worked, as a full-time sales representative for Danish-based LEO for at least one day in any US state or territory between February 7 2009 and the present day.

According to the complaint, LEO wrongfully classifies its non-exempt sales reps as salaried exempt employees and, as a result, does not pay overtime to these staff, even though they regularly perform non-exempt duties on the behalf of the company.

Jeremy Heisler, who is also representing the quartet, said LEO knew it was breaching the FLSA by not paying overtime to its staff. “LEO Pharma has not made a good faith effort to comply with Fair Labor Standards Act or with the comparable state laws that protect workers’ rights,” he said. “In today’s depressed economic climate, this is not only illegal, but unconscionable.”