Sandwich restaurant Jimmy John's had disappointing news this week: a federal judge ordered the company to rehire and pay lost wages to six employees. The employees were fired after they posted 3,000 notices implying that sandwiches could be made by sick workers.
The employees claimed that if they called in sick but couldn't find a replacement, they feared being fired. In the court decision, the judge ruled that, by removing the posters, Jimmy John's violated workers' rights under the National Labor Relations Act. This decision was based on a labor dispute under way at Jimmy John's: a union held an election to organize workers and, although the union was narrowly rejected, it filed unfair labor practices, claiming that Jimmy John's interfered with the election process.
The union perspective is that the workers were terminated "for blowing the whistle on company policies that expose customers to sandwiches made by sick workers."
MikLin Enterprises, which owns Jimmy John's, will appeal the decision.
- What is your perspective of the posters? What is the company's perspective?
- How does this case relate to comments in social networking sites, a hotly debated topic for the National Labor Relations Board?