The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., a case to determine whether pharmaceutical sales representatives (PSRs) qualify for the outside sales exemption under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Supreme Court’s opinion will settle a split between the Second and Ninth Circuits in which the Second Circuit held that PSRs are not making sales under the FLSA and – in the underlying case – the Ninth Circuit held that they are, qualifying them as outside sales employees. A broader issue to be decided by the Court is the level of deference owed to a regulatory agency that announces new substantive positions through amicus curiae filings. Here, the Second Circuit’s opinion was largely based on a position taken by the Department of Labor (DOL) through an amicus brief where it advocated that the PSRs do not qualify for an exemption to the FLSA’s overtime requirements. The Ninth Circuit rejected the DOL’s position, finding it need not be afforded deference under Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997). To learn more about the case and its potential implications for employers, please continue reading at Littler’s Wage and Hour Counsel.