Monday, November 04, 2013

Former sales rep sues Indy-based Eli Lilly for bonus pay, seeks class-action status

During her two years as a temporary sales representative for Eli Lilly and Co., Leslie Pinciaro Dudley earned some lucrative incentive bonuses that the company dangled to encourage its sales force to work hard.

But she didn’t collect all the bonuses she felt she earned.

The Jacksonville, Fla., woman is suing Lilly, alleging the Indianapolis drugmaker breached a contract by not paying her some $15,000 in incentive pay that she thinks she is entitled to.

Dudley’s lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Florida, asks the court to declare her case a class action, opening it up to perhaps 150 other short-term sales representatives who she says also might have lost out on incentive pay.

Lilly responded quickly to the breach of contract and unjust enrichment lawsuit, asking the judge to dismiss it.

Lilly’s argument: Its incentive-pay program requires the recipient to still be working for Lilly on the last day of the work period for which the reward was calculated. Since Dudley’s “fixed duration” employment expired three weeks before the work period for her incentive pay program ended, Lilly says she wasn’t entitled to any reward money.

“The documents governing (Dudley’s) eligibility for payments are crystal clear that ... employees are required to be employed on the last day of the period before any payment is earned or vested,” the Lilly dismissal motion says.

But her lawyer, Steven Simmons Jr., said the clause that Lilly cited requiring employees to be employed to the end of pay periods in order to collect bonuses “was not in (Dudley’s) contract.”

“Lilly represented through its actual contract ... that she was entitled to that final incentive pay,” he said.

Dudley worked in Jacksonville as a senior sales representative in Lilly’s men’s health division from February 2011 to March of this year. She received a salary of $83,016 a year during her employment.

Simmons said Lilly did pay Dudley incentive bonuses earlier in her employment and only the bonuses that she earned toward the end of her two-year stint are in dispute.

Dudley is still looking for another job since leaving Lilly, he said.

Call Star reporter Jeff Swiatek at (317) 444-6483. Follow him on Twitter: @JeffSwiatek.

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