MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld a prior ruling that found a Jimmy John's franchisee violated the union organizing rights of six employees who were fired for protesting the company's sick leave policy.

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued its ruling Friday. It affirms a 2014 finding by the National Labor Relations Board, which supported a 2012 ruling that the workers should get their jobs back and get back pay.

MikLin Enterprises owns 10 Jimmy John's franchises. A message left at the company's offices on Sunday was not immediately returned to The Associated Press.

The workers were fired more than five years ago. One worker says they were happy with the ruling, but the process took too long.