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At Jimmy John's, all employees must sign a strict, 'oppressive' non-compete agreement

When new employees start at the sandwich chain Jimmy John's, they must sign an agreement with a non-compete clause that one worker who recently filed suit against the company calls "oppressive."

The clause not only keeps an employee from working at places like Subway for two years, The Huffington Post reports, but also any business within three miles of a Jimmy John's location that receives 10 percent of its revenue from sandwiches (including, but not limited to, "submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita and/or wrapped or rolled sandwiches"). It's not uncommon for a business to have executives and managers sign a non-compete agreement to keep them from spilling company secrets to a competitor, but at Jimmy John's everyone — including delivery drivers and sandwich makers — has to sign.

This summer, the non-compete agreement became part of a class-action lawsuit filed against Jimmy John's and one of its franchise owners, and another lawsuit by a Jimmy John's employee argued that the agreement is too broad and "oppressive." Attorney Kathleen Chavez told The Huffington Post that if the agreement is enforced, it creates a blackout zone that consists of 6,000 square miles in 44 states and the District of Columbia. "It is disturbing this document is being used and it is our position that it has broad impact on thousands of employees," she said.