U.S. Supreme Court rules that pharmaceutical reps not entitled to protections of overtime law

On June 18, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Christopher v. SmithKlineBeecham Corp., that sales reps for GlaxoSmithKine were not entitled to overtime pay under federal labor law because they fell within an exemption for “outside sales.”  The majority opinion noted that pharmaceutical reps, who are well-compensated, are not the kind of employees the Fair Labor Standards Act was intended to protect.  The decision relieved the pharmaceutical company from a possible judgment in the billions of dollars, and may be applicable to other industries.