Current and former sales representatives for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. are not exempt from qualifying for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Adopting an interpretation of the law urged by the U.S. Department of Labor, the circuit reinstated the claims of some 2,500 plaintiffs who argued they should be paid overtime for working in excess of 40 hours per week. One lawyer for the plaintiffs estimated that damages could be in the area of $100 million.