Andrea Dearden Sep. 11, 2013, 8:42am

A former employee of an O'Fallon sandwich shop says he was fired after he told his supervisor of illegal payments to employees.

Joe Ciofu filed a lawsuit July 26 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against EVJO LLC, doing business as Jersey MIke's Subs. Greg Potter is also named as a defendant.

According to the complaint, Ciofu worked for Jersey Mike's Subs on Green Mount Crossing. During his employment Ciofu claims he learned the company was paying workers cash for any overtime hours to avoid paying taxes on those wages. When he brought this up to supervisor Potter in July 2012, Ciofu says he was fired for reporting the illegal activities.

Ciofu also claims Potter asked him to sign a resignation letter that he had written for him and threatened to withhold Ciofu's last paycheck if he refused to sign. Potter allegedly told Ciofu he would deny any claim of unemployment benefits made by the employee and make sure he would never work at any other Jersey Mike's Subs shop if the letter was not signed.

Ciofu says he refused to sign the letter and later applied for other jobs within the company. Potter allegedly told potential employers that Ciofu was fired for stealing from the O'Fallon Jersey Mike's. Ciofu contends Potter made the same claim to an unemployment compensation hearing officer. As a result, according to the complaint, Ciofu lost out on jobs, unemployment compensation and benefits.

Potter and Jersey Mike's are accused of wrongful discharge, defamation and intentional interference with economic advantage. Ciofu asks for a judgment of more than $200,000 in damages for lost wages, benefits and costs of the lawsuit.

He is represented by attorneys Michael J. Brunton and Mary M. Stewart of Collinsville. They request a jury trial.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-393

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