Bikini baristas win battle over skimpy clothes as court rejects city's dress code for 'quick service' workers

Bikini baristas win battle over skimpy clothes as court rejects city's dress code for 'quick service' workers
Federal judge rules in favor of bikini baristas over city's dress code (screenshot/ Fox13/yelp)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: The Everett, Washington dress code ordinance requiring that "quick service" workers must cover the upper and lower body was found to be unconstitutional by a federal court. This happened after the owner of the Hillbilly Hotties bikini barista stand and some of his employees filed a legal complaint contesting the constitutionality of the regulation. Bikini baristas and the city of Everett engaged in a protracted court battle over the right of employees to wear whatever they wanted, and a partial summary judgment decision was rendered.

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The city's lewd behavior law was also contested by the Hillbilly Hotties, but the court only addressed the baristas' dress code allegation. The plaintiffs and the city of Everett were ordered by the court to meet within 14 days to discuss the next steps, as reported by DailyMail.

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Not everyone appeared to be impressed by the focus on the bikinis. The regulation listed quick service establishments like coffee shops, fast food restaurants, delis, and food trucks as examples. The organization also contested the city's lewd conduct law, but the court only upheld the baristas' argument about the dress code. The equal protection sections of the US and Washington constitutions were violated by the City of Everett's clothing ordinance, according to the US District Court in Seattle. According to a 19-page decision signed by US District Judge Ricardo S Martinez, the Court determined that the ordinance was created, at least in part, with a gender-based discriminatory intent. "The record shows this Ordinance was passed in part to having an adverse impact on female workers at bikini barista stands," Martinez wrote. "There is evidence in the record that the bikini barista profession, clearly a target of the Ordinance, is entirely or almost entirely female. It is difficult to imagine how this Ordinance would be equally applied to men and women in practice."

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The judge said the old law violated the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment because it targeted women’s clothing and not men’s.
(credits: Screenshot/Fox news)
The judge said the old law violated the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment because it targeted women’s clothing and not men’s (Screenshot/Fox news)

The court also determined that bikini baristas were "clearly" a target of the legislation, noting that the occupation employs a staff that is almost entirely female. “In some countries, because of their religious beliefs, you have to wear a lot of clothes,” wrote one of the plaintiffs, Matteson Hernandez. “But America is different because you can wear what you want to wear. I wear what I feel comfortable in and others can wear what they feel comfortable in. Wearing a bikini sends this message to others."

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“Don’t judge a book by its cover just because of the girls who do this job doesn’t mean we’re bad people,” Ivy, a bikini barista, told Fox 13. ‘We all have a life out there; some of us are mothers, some of us also go to university, we are all just working and hustling like everyone else."

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