Thứ Sáu, Tháng Sáu 2, 2023
HomeBusinessCity pays $500k to settle bikini bartender's dress code lawsuit

City pays $500k to settle bikini bartender’s dress code lawsuit


EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A legal battle over the dress code for bikini baristas at coffee shops is coming to an end after a city north of Seattle agreed to pay $500,000 to owners and employees. sued six years ago.


Everett City Council voted unanimously this week to authorize Mayor Cassie Franklin to sign the settlement with Jovanna Edge and employees, The Daily Herald reported.


The plaintiffs have claimed more than $3 million in damages and attorneys’ fees.

Under the agreement, the city will keep most of its probationary licensing requirements for coffee shops and other quick-service businesses, but will no longer require bartenders to wear at least three holes and shorts.

Instead, the city will adapt dress codes to existing lewd behavior standards, making it a crime to reveal too much of a person’s private parts in public. Another provision requires business owners to post materials for employees with information on how to seek help if they are being trafficked or exploited.


“I’m glad we stand for baristas and against people who are trying to make them do things they don’t want to do,” City Councilor Liz Vogeli said after the vote.

The settlement could end a story that began in 2009 when the city said it had received complaints that led to investigations that found some stalls were selling sex performances and sexual acts. and allow customers to touch the bartender’s body. Four people were arrested and charged.

In 2013, two espresso bar owners were arrested for allegedly promoting prostitution and exploiting minors, as well as a Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant for disclosing to bartenders about undercover officers in exchange for sexual favors. The sergeant resigned, and the owner was convicted.


The city in 2017 issued a dress code that requires employees, owners, and operators of “quick service establishments” from coffee shops to fast food restaurants to wear clothing that covers the entire body. upper and lower body otherwise will be fined.

Edge, owner of bikini barista Everett Hillbilly Hotties, and employees Natalie Bjerke, Matteson Hernandez, Leah Humphrey, Amelia Powell and Liberty Ziska filed a legal complaint arguing that the ordinance violated their rights in the First Amendment.

Hernandez writes: “Some countries force you to wear a lot of clothes because of their religious beliefs. “But America is different because you can wear what you want to wear. I wear what I’m comfortable with and others can wear what they’re comfortable with.”

The case has been subject to various rulings in the courts, but in October a US District Court judge found the dress code to be unconstitutional.

Ramerman told the council that the city could appeal but failure would result in a sum much higher than $500,000. The city spent nearly $400,000 defending the ordinance.

The city attorney said the settlement “still provides us with the best tool for asking stall owners to ensure that their employees do not engage in illegal conduct.”

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