Legal

‘Sharp’ Attacks on Jimmy John’s Leads to the Ax

By Mark Kobata

Oct. 9, 2017

Six employees of MikLin Enterprises Inc., a franchisor of 10 Jimmy John’s sub sandwich locations in Minneapolis-St. Paul, were terminated for their involvement in the creation and dissemination of posters in or near store locations during a unionizing campaign. The posters contained side-by-side images of Jimmy John’s sandwiches stating “Your Sandwich Made By A Healthy Jimmy John’s Worker” and “Your Sandwich Made By A Sick Jimmy John’s Worker.”

Additionally, The posters stated, “Can’t Tell The Difference? That’s Too Bad Because Jimmy John’s Workers Don’t Get Paid Sick Days. Shoot, We Can’t Even Call In Sick. We Hope Your Immune System Is Ready Because You’re About To Take The Sandwich Test.” The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that even though the employees’ goal of obtaining paid sick leave was a protected activity, “communications connected to a labor dispute are unprotected when they constitute a ‘sharp, public, disparaging attack upon the quality of the company’s product and its business policies.’ ”

See MikLin Enterprises Inc. v. NLRB, Case Nos. 14-3099 and 14-3211 (8th Cir. July 3, 2017).

Impact: While “protected speech and activities” appear to have received significant expansion and protection in this era of social media, this case indicates it is not without limits.

Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis are partners at the law firm Barlow, Kobata and Denis, which has offices in Beverly Hills, California, and Chicago. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

Mark Kobata and Marty Denis are partners at the law firm Barlow, Kobata and Denis, which has offices in Beverly Hills, California, and Chicago.

About Workforce.com

blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog

Compliance

Minimum Wage by State in 2022 – All You Need to Know

Summary The federal minimum wage rate is $7.25, but the rate is higher in 30 states, along with Washing...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog

Legal

California’s push for a 32-hour workweek explained, and how to prepare

Summary: California is considering a 32-hour workweek bill for businesses with over 500 staff 4 day wee...

32 hour workweek, 4 day workweek, california, legislature, overtime

workforce blog

Legal

A business owner’s guide to restaurant tipping law

Business owners in the restaurant industry are in a unique position when it comes to employee tips. As ...

restaurants, tip laws, tipping