econscius

Supreme Court Knocks Down Curious Obama Labor Dept. Overtime Idea

In Obama Administration, Regulation on June 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Why is President Obama seen as so anti-business by many in commerce?  Behind the scenes, myriad government agencies fight against American enterprise everyday, often for the flimsiest of reasons.

One example of Obama Administration overreach was rejected by the US Supreme Court on Monday June 18, 2012. [1]

It is long-standing law that traveling salespeople are not covered by overtime rules.  Paying every hour a salesperson is on the road would be very expensive.  It is alrady factored into the job, which pays well. 

The Obama Administration’s Labor Department took the unique viewpoint that pharmaceutical representatives must be covered by overtime rules because they aren’t really salespeople.  Technically, government regulations already hold drug reps aren’t to “sell” to doctors but rather promote medications to doctors. [2]  That line of reasoning made me smile.  Speak of splitting hairs!

In reality, drug reps are not working differently than other traveling salespeople.  Thus, the Supreme Court upheld drug reps are not covered by federal overtime rules. 

Justice Alito said the Labor Department’s position was “quite unpersuasive.” [1]

Why would the Obama Administration invest time and expense to obtain OT for drug reps?  Sometimes we hear the Administration is concerned about medical costs yet Administration actions like this would increase costs for pharma and other medical companies.  Wouldn’t some of these higher OT costs be passed along to consumers (and the government itself as payer of Medicare and Medicaid)?

Doesn’t the Administration claim to be out for the little guy?  Drug reps earn a median, not average, pay in excess of $90,000 a year.  [2]  I’ve known a few drug reps over the years and they also receive use of a company car in order to call on doctors.

This Administration attempt was fortunately put down by the SOTUS, but is yet another example of why American business trembles about our government.

[1] http://www.nasdaq.com/article/supreme-court-rejects-overtime-pay-for-drug-reps-20120618-00791

[2] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303836404577474421746036722.html

 Pictures from Wikipedia Commons.

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