A federal court recently sided with a bikini barista stand in Washington state, striking down a dress code regulation in Everett that had mandated the employees cover up if they were wearing bikinis.
According to the Daily Herald, the city adopted a law in 2017 mandating that “fast service” employees wear coverings over their upper and lower bodies at all times. Hillbilly Hotties, the stand’s owner, and many of its workers filed a challenge to the regulation, claiming the prohibition infringed their right to free speech.
The Equal Protection provisions of the United States and Washington state constitutions were determined to have been violated by Seattle’s clothing code, according to the United States District Court in Seattle.
U.S. In a 19-page opinion, District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez explains that the law was influenced by sexism.
According to Martinez, “the record suggests this Ordinance was enacted in part to have a negative effect on female employees at bikini barista stands.” The data shows that bikini baristas—the obvious target of the Ordinance—are nearly exclusively women. It’s hard to picture how this Ordinance might be administered uniformly to both sexes.
Clothing “usually worn by women rather than males,” as stated in the judgement, such as midriff and scoop-back shirts, and bikinis, are prohibited under the code.
Eventually, law police will be requested to measure the amount of flesh exposed “if the proprietors of bikini barista stands are incapable or unwilling to implement this dress rule,” the judgement added. This “encourages” a search that “disempowers, intrusively demoralizes, and strips women of their independence.”
It has been ordered that the city of Everett have a meeting with the plaintiffs within 14 days to consider future measures.
The city’s lewd conduct ordinance, which made it illegal to facilitate lewd conduct, was also challenged by the bikini baristas. This ordinance defined lewd acts more broadly, making it illegal to expose “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola,” as well as “the genitals, anus, bottom one-half of the anal cleft,” or “any portion of the areola or nipple of
In the end, the court ruled against the barista on all counts save the one involving the local clothing code.