Jimmy Johns has been in the news a lot in the last few years, and this time it is due to a lawsuit that is taking the fast food chain to court by its former employees. It seems that the food conglomerate makes all employees sign a non-competition form that forbids them from working for any other sandwich shop for two years. This includes their lowest wage earners, the makers of the sandwiches and the “freaky fast” delivery drivers.
Many are familiar with this type of clause, but most are managers or persons with intimate knowledge into the actual business side of a company. This radical across the board signing of the non-competition form forbids employees from working in any place of business that has pretty much any type of sandwich, from subs to rolled or wrapped sandwiches for two years. This is a tough spot for the thousands of teens and young adults that enter the work place, only to find that in their geographical area, the easiest job to get, is at a sandwich shop. Many of these kids are not yet driving and their logistical area for employment is minimal.
One such student that left Jimmy Johns was prevented from working anywhere in the Tuscaloosa Ala. area, as all the local shops fall into the parameters of the Jimmy Johns non-competition guidelines. The sandwich company is no stranger to being embroiled in legal battles with their employees, as some are fighting to get union representation while others are in a fight with what was deemed unfair in their labor practices.
The owner of Jimmy Johns is a big game hunter who has been under fire for the photos he posts with his kills, and for providing funds that are suspect to a sheriffs association, which some are claiming keeps him from getting into trouble for some of his hunting that involves endangered species. Jimmy John Liautaud has also been called by many in the media as a “right winged nut,” citing his involvement in the scandal around anti-immigration advocate Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona. They state that the fast food giant donated as much as $10,000 in 2008, and in spite of the scandal that followed he did not come under any investigation of the donated funds.
Many companies are finding that the American public wants to know what their owners’ views are on a political level, and where their moral compass is pointing. Protests go on around the world for such things, as companies that seem to sexualize children in their ads, to avoiding self checkouts on the basis of the unemployment rate. Unfair wages, sexual discrimination and many more extreme situations come to light each day. Jimmy Johns is no exception as they battle unionization, unfair labor practices and now this lawsuit for their extreme us of a non-competition clause. For some just the fact that the owner of this sub shop is an unapologetic big game hunter is enough for them to never step foot into the chain ever again.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska