Judge: MN Jimmy John’s Owner Violated Workers’ Rights

A federal administrative judge has ordered Minnetrista-based Jimmy John's franchisee MikLin Enterprises to reinstate six employees that it fired last year after they publicly protested the franchisee's sick-leave policy.

More than a year after Jimmy John's franchisee MikLin Enterprises, Inc., fired six employees who publicly protested the franchisee's sick-leave policy, a federal administrative law judge has ruled that MikLin violated workers' rights and must reinstate the six workers with back pay, according to a Star Tribune report.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in November filed a complaint against Minnetrista-based MikLin in response to unfair labor accusations launched by members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)-an international labor union with which some Jimmy John's workers are affiliated.

Judge Arthur Amchan on Friday reportedly upheld much of the NLRB's complaint against MikLin, which owns 10 Jimmy John's sandwich shops in the Twin Cities.

The IWW filed the complaint after MikLin fired the workers for distributing roughly 3,000 posters and protesting the company's sick-leave policy. The posters depicted two identical sandwiches, stating that one sandwich was made by a healthy Jimmy John's employee, while the other was made by a sick worker-implying that the restaurant's sick-leave policy causes employees to attend work while ill, which could jeopardize customers' health.

Amchan concluded that the posters were protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act, according to the Star Tribune. He also reportedly said that MikLin co-owner Rob Mulligan violated labor law by encouraging other workers to tear down the posters.

When MikLin fired the six workers in March, its president, Mike Mulligan, told Twin Cities Business that the posters crossed the line in terms of what is protected under NLRB regulations. “These posters are false and misleading at best, and in the view of our company, they are defamatory, disparaging, and dishonest,” he said at the time.

To read the full Star Tribune story, click here.