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Employees question non-compete agreement at Jimmy John's

Indiana residents might be interested to learn about a proposed class-action lawsuit that may be filed against the restaurant chain Jimmy John's, a sandwich shop. According to reports, Jimmy John's employees are required to sign an employment agreement that includes an unusual non-competition clause.

By signing the agreement, Jimmy John's workers promise not to work at any other establishment that makes at least 10 percent of its profits from sandwiches and is located within three miles of a Jimmy John's. Although managers are usually the only workers who have to sign non-compete agreements, Jimmy John's requires entry-level employees to sign theirs as well. The non-competition agreement is effective during employment at Jimmy John's and two years after the employment ends.

According to a lawyer who is handling the case, employment at Jimmy John's is conditional upon signing the agreement. She claims that the employment opportunities for thousands of people are dramatically limited once they sign the agreement. With over 2,000 locations in 44 states, the geographical area covered in the clause is reportedly 6,000 square miles. Because Jimmy John's is a staple in many college towns, a person who worked at Jimmy John's during high school would likely be barred from employment in a large number of establishments once they started going to college.

A prospective employee who has questions about the non-compete agreement on their employment contract may want to consult an attorney. If the agreement is not in the best interest of the employee, an attorney may be able to help the employee negotiate for different terms. An attorney may also be able to help represent a worker who has mistakenly violated the non-compete agreement they signed previously.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Jimmy John's Makes Low-Wage Workers Sign 'Oppressive' Noncompete Agreements", Dave Jamieson , October 15, 2014

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