I try to eat healthy at lunch. However, without fail, I am always greatly tempted by the sandwiches on the menu. Thinking about it right now even makes me hungry. That said, I am not a big fan of the sandwich shop Jimmy John’s. Just not a big fan of their sandwiches.
Now, I have learned that Jimmy John’s makes their new employees sign a non-compete agreement when they are hired. The agreement provides in part:
Employee covenants and agrees that, during his or her employment with the Employer and for a period of two (2) years after … he or she will not have any direct or indirect interest in or perform services for … any business which derives more than ten percent (10%) of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches and which is located with three (3) miles of either [the Jimmy John's location in question] or any such other Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop.
This is what a new employee signs as part of a bunch of paperwork when hired. For instance, this is restricting a sandwich maker or a delivery driver from jumping to a competitor for a period of two years. In the agreement, competitors are defined as any business that is near a Jimmy John’s location that receives at least 10% of the restaurant business from the sale of sandwiches.
Now, let’s really narrow it down to what it means. Jimmy John’s advertises that it has more than 6000 restaurants throughout the United States. Those locations are in 44 states. So, if a sandwich maker or a delivery driver happened to move to another state and tried to go to work at a restaurant that had that 10% sandwich ratio… boom, they would be in violation of their non-compete.
To be fair, I can understand how some employees who have served in management would have learned trade secrets. The non-compete would have some legitimate purpose. In legal terms, a legitimate business reason. However, such a broad restriction on all employees can surely have impact on someone’s ability to earn a living.
In the past, Jimmy John’s has been sued for “systematic wage theft” under a claim that employees were required to work off the clock. In addition, a class action suit was filed against them because they were regularly failing to put sprouts on sandwiches. Yep… sprouts!
Now, some workers are beginning to file suits relating to the non-compete, with a claim that it is oppressive. So, it appears that Jimmy John’s is fighting about wages, sprouts and competition. The business of making sandwiches sure seems to be pretty complex outside of the bread.
And for pic o’ day:
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