There’s really nothing about the Jimmy John’s B.L.T. that anyone would consider a mystery – that is, unless you’re Jimmy John’s. To them, a simple sandwich is a trade secret to be protected at all costs.
For Emily Brunner and Caitlin Turowski, that mindset has place a virtual lock on their job prospects. The 22-year-old Brunner is an assistant manager at a Jimmy John’s near Chicago. A salaried employee, Brunner says her hourly pay amounts to less than minimum wage. Until recently, Turowski, 25, also worked at a Jimmy John’s near Chicago.
“I wouldn’t be able to work here,” Turowski said, standing inside a local restaurant in the Chicago area. “End of discussion. They have a list of sandwiches.”
What Turowski is talking about is the agreement that all Jimmy John’s workers must sign. For two years, it forbids former employees from working for “any business which delivers more than 10 percent of its revenue” from sandwiches if that business is “within three miles” of a Jimmy John’s store.
For Brunner and Turowski, Jimmy John’s was an entry-level job, and both would like better jobs with bigger paychecks. So, they are suing Jimmy John’s to have its non-competition agreement declared illegal – the first lawsuit of its kind.
“I assumed it was all necessary,” said Brunner, in her first TV interview. “I knew I had to fill out my W-2’s. I had to sign my name on the dotted line. I just needed a job.”