Novo Nordisk hit with lawsuit over second US overtime dispute
For the second time in less than a year, Novo Nordisk is facing legal action in the US over its alleged failure to pay overtime to its sales representatives.
On Monday, a US law firm filed a $70 million (395 million kroner) lawsuit in a federal court in New York against the Bagsværd-based pharmaceutical maker on behalf of current and former sales representatives the states of New York and New Jersey.
According to a statement released by the firm, the class and collective action complaint has been filed on behalf of two plaintiffs and current and former sales representatives.
Steven L. Wittels, an attorney for Sanford Wittels and Heisler, LLP, said Novo Nordisk is violating employee rights in a lust for profits.
“Novo Nordisk has systematically trampled on its dedicated employees’ rights to be paid for their overtime work,” said Wittels. “It misclassifies its sales representatives as salaried employees exempt from the benefits of federal and state overtime laws, when they are not exempt at all.”
Wittels said that there was “something rotten” about a company that earned more than $3 billion (18 billion kroner) in profits in 2011 and at the same time refuses to pay its employees for overtime.
Novo Nordisk reported total 2011 sales of more than 66 billion kroner ($10 billion) and an 18% annual profit increase.
The company had no immediate comment.
A California law firm filed a suit against Novo Nordisk in July on behalf of sales representatives who also alleged that the company failed to pay them overtime.