Sandwich shop requires employees sign non-compete agreement
For many people who are starting a new job, before signing a non-compete contract, they call in a lawyer to go through it with them to determine the impact the contract could have in the future and whether it is advisable to sign it. After identifying undesirable provisions an attorney may be able to help to negotiate better terms. While this may be standard procedure for an executive in a white collar job, it is likely the last thing on the mind of individuals hired to make sandwiches.
While it might sound strange, sandwich chain Jimmy John’s has asked its workers to do this very thing. A leaked copy of the agreement indicates that it prohibits a former employee from working at “any business which derives more than 10% of its revenue from selling submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches,” for a period of 2 years, at any restaurants found within three miles of any Jimmy John’s.
Though a legal document, not all non-compete agreements are binding. Depending on a variety of factors, including the state in which the agreement was signed, it may not be enforceable. In most cases such agreements need to be deemed reasonable to be valid. A test for reasonableness could be whether there is a customer base considered to be near-permanent. As it is foreseeable that someone who enjoys eating sandwiches at Jimmy John’s would also be inclined to each sandwich at another restaurant as well, such a contract might not be considered reasonable.
Anytime you face a question regarding a non-compete agreement, regardless of the job you are seeking and whether you have signed it or not, an employment lawyer may be of assistance.
Source: Forbes, “Does Jimmy John’s Non-Compete Clause For Sandwich Makers Have Legal Legs?” Clare O’Connor, Oct. 15, 2014