Seattle’s bikini baristas WIN case allowing skimpy coffeeshop outfits city officials called lewd


A Washington State city’s dress code ordinance saying bikini baristas must cover their bodies at work has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.

The decision in a partial summary judgment came after a lengthy legal battle between bikini baristas and the city of Everett over the rights of workers to wear what they want. 

The owner of Everett bikini barista stand Hillbilly Hotties and some employees filed a legal complaint challenging the constitutionality of the dress code ordinance. 

In 2017, the city of Everett enacted the law requiring all employees, owners and operators of ‘quick service facilities’ to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body. 

In Everett near Seattle, a dress code ordinance that stated bikini baristas must cover their bodies at work has now been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. Pictured, one of the workers at Showcase Coffee

In Everett near Seattle, a dress code ordinance that stated bikini baristas must cover their bodies at work has now been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court. Pictured, one of the workers at Showcase Coffee

Many of the coffee shops are small roadside shacks but the workers had to be covered up

Many of the coffee shops are small roadside shacks but the workers had to be covered up

Not everyone appeared to be impressed with the level of attention being given to the bikinis

Not everyone appeared to be impressed with the level of attention being given to the bikinis

The ordinance listed coffee stands, fast food restaurants, delis, food trucks and coffee shops as examples of quick service businesses.

The group also challenged the city’s lewd conduct ordinance, but the court dismissed all the baristas’ claims but the dress code question. 

The U.S. District Court in Seattle found the city of Everett’s dress code ordinance violated the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. and Washington state constitutions. 

The Court found that the ordinance was, at least in part, shaped by a gender-based discriminatory purpose, according to a 19-page ruling signed by U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.

‘The record shows this Ordinance was passed in part to have an adverse impact on female workers at bikini barista stands,’ U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.

A barista at a Grab-N-Go Bikini Hut espresso stand holds money as she waves to a customer

A barista at a Grab-N-Go Bikini Hut espresso stand holds money as she waves to a customer

The owner of a chain of the coffee stands called 'Hillbilly Hotties' sued the city of Everett, Washington, saying the ordinances banning bare skin violated their right to free expression

The owner of a chain of the coffee stands called ‘Hillbilly Hotties’ sued the city of Everett, Washington, saying the ordinances banning bare skin violated their right to free expression

Bikini baristas were 'clearly' a target of the ordinance, the court ruled, noting how the profession is comprised of a workforce that is almost entirely women

Bikini baristas were ‘clearly’ a target of the ordinance, the court ruled, noting how the profession is comprised of a workforce that is almost entirely women

 ‘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’ because the ordinance prohibits clothing ‘typically worn by women rather than men,’ including midriff and scoop-back shirts, as well as bikinis. 

Bikini baristas were ‘clearly’ a target of the ordinance, the court also ruled, adding that the profession is comprised of a workforce that is almost entirely women.

‘I think this protects our safety from law enforcement touching our body,’ barista Emma Dilemma told HeraldNet. ‘Who’s approving my outfit? Is it my female boss or some random dude cop that I don’t know? I don’t want them having to stick a ruler next to my body.’ 

Martinez also questions how ‘law enforcement will be asked to measure the exposure of skin’ and said it would bring ‘humiliating’ searches onto them (pictured: Hillbilly Espresso barista) 

The City of Everett lost its bid to enforce a dress code on bikini baristas after a US District judge ruled it unconstitutional on October 19. Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said the dress code and lewd conduct ordinances 'clearly' targeted bikini baristas and didn't see how it equally applied to men (pictured: a Hillbilly Espresso barista)

The City of Everett lost its bid to enforce a dress code on bikini baristas after a US District judge ruled it unconstitutional on October 19. Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said the dress code and lewd conduct ordinances ‘clearly’ targeted bikini baristas and didn’t see how it equally applied to men (pictured: a Hillbilly Espresso barista) 

‘Some countries make you wear lots of clothing because of their religious beliefs,’ one of the plaintiffs Matteson Hernandez wrote. ‘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 are comfortable with. Wearing a bikini sends this message to others.’ 

‘We are here saying we watched our moms and grandmas going through hell and we don’t have to,’ Liberty Ziska wrote. ‘Millions of women fought for our rights and right to vote and it’s my right to wear what I want. It’s my right as a person.’ 

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover, just because of the girls who are doing this job, doesn’t mean we’re bad people,’ said Ivy, a bikini barista to Fox 13. ‘We all have lives outside of this; some of us are mothers, some of us go to college besides this, we’re all just working and hustling like everybody else.’ 

The court has now directed the city of Everett to meet with the plaintiffs next month to discuss the next steps.

Hillbilly Hotties (pictured) originally filed the lawsuit in 2017

Hillbilly Hotties (pictured) originally filed the lawsuit in 2017  

The ruling by the Seattle-based court came in a case brought by Hillbilly Hotties, a bikini barista chain, and several female employees

The ruling by the Seattle-based court came in a case brought by Hillbilly Hotties, a bikini barista chain, and several female employees



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