Jimmy John's With a Side of Wage Theft?

Former Jimmy John’s workers last week filed a class action lawsuit in federal court charging that the sandwich chain famed for “dirt cheap” prices is stealing workers’ wages as a matter of nation-wide policy.

Karolis Kubelskas and Emily Brunner, both former workers at separate Jimmy John’s shops in Illinois, charge that their employers violated numerous state and federal laws by “requiring hourly employees to work ‘off the clock’ without getting paid”—a practice that led to sub-minimum wages, denial of overtime pay, and therefore “significant monetary losses.” They say that this practice, which affects “tens of thousands” of current and former workers, amounts to intentional “systematic wage theft.”

Both Jimmy John’s Enterprise and franchisee JS Fort Group—owner of the two Illinois locations that employed the plaintiffs—are named in the suit.

Jimmy John’s, which boasts 1,900 shops across the United States, says it offers low prices and an “irreverent attitude” that college students love. But critics charge that the company’s business model is, in fact, based on skimping on labor costs and denying workers their rights.