Illinois sues Jimmy John's over non-compete agreements

The Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit Thursday against Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, alleging the national chain imposes “highly restrictive non-compete agreements on its employees.”

The filing claims the Illinois-based national chain forces all of its employees, including everyone from sandwich makers to delivery drivers and executives, to sign a non-compete contract that forbids them from working at another sub shop while being employed at Jimmy John's and for two years after they leave.

“By locking low-wage workers into their jobs and prohibiting them from seeking better paying jobs elsewhere, the companies have no reason to increase their wages or benefits,” attorney general Lisa Madigan said in a statement.

The AG’s office wants all of the non-compete forms to be voided.

Jimmy John’s head office told The Chicago Tribune it stopped using the non-compete agreements in 2015 but Madigan said the change had not been implemented or communicated to employees.

The company maintained in a written statement it has been “nothing but cooperative and transparent throughout the process.”

The company also says it offered to have the CEO sign a declaration that it had stopped using and enforcing the non-compete clause.

Jimmy John’s has 2,000 chains nationwide.