Jimmy John’s Makes Workers Sign Strict Non-Compete Agreements To Guard Its Sandwich Secrets

In any given area, there is a likelihood that a business nearby is going to be selling sandwiches to hungry customers. But workers who leave Jimmy John’s might have a tough time trying to find new employment after they’re employed at the sandwich chain, as a corporate non-compete clause puts some pretty strict limits on their post-Jimmy John’s careers.

As part of a proposed class action lawsuit filed against a franchisee by two workers who had claimed that the company forced employees to work off the clock, the amended complaint argues that the noncompete agreement even low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers have to sign, reports the Huffington Post. The workers claim the agreement is overly broad and “oppressive” to employees.

Per the agreement, as reported by HuffPo:

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.

Got that? You can’t work within three miles of any Jimmy John’s out of the over 2,000 locations if your new place of employment gets 10% of its business from making sandwiches.

Depending on where you live, that could dramatically limit the places a worker could get a job after leaving Jimmy John’s, the workers’ lawyer says. She argues that the blackout area would cover 6,000 square miles in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

“It is disturbing this document is being used and it is our position that it has broad impact on thousands of employees,” she says.

Thus far Jimmy John’s doesn’t seem to have enforced the clause, and is not commenting on the lawsuit.

So why does Jimmy John’s even have a non-compete clause? What trade secrets could there be worth protecting — a super secret roast beef tenderizer? A special way of layering tomatoes?

Jimmy John’s Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign ‘Oppressive’ Noncompete Agreements [Huffington Post]