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A Minneapolis fast-food sandwich franchise has agreed to pay more than $17,000 in back wages and penalties owed to two dozen of its employees under the city's paid sick leave law.

Several months of investigation into the Jimmy John's at 2317 18th Av. NE. by the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights found that employees had almost no access to sick leave, according to the city.

"Now more than ever during a public health crisis, we recognize that we can't have anyone working while they're sick, and especially in food service industries," said Brian Walsh, director of Minneapolis' Labor Standards Enforcement division.

Under the settlement with the Civil Rights Department, Jimmy John's has agreed to allow its employees to take time off when they are sick and offer training and education to both its workers and management. The franchise's general manager, Ryan Connors, declined to comment Tuesday.

Since the sick leave law went into effect in 2017 and the minimum wage law took effect in 2018, the city has recovered more than $350,000 in back wages and damages. Businesses of six or more employees are required to offer paid sick time and post those rules where workers can see them, while companies with fewer workers have the option to make the sick leave unpaid.

The city typically initiates labor violation investigations when they receive a complaint from employees, Walsh said. City officials also go to businesses to identify problems, making sure that both employers and workers know their rights and responsibilities.

Faiza Mahamud • 612-673-4203