EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The city of Washington’s dress code, which requires bikini baristas to cover themselves at work, has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.
This week’s partial summary judgment decision comes after a lengthy legal battle between Bikini Baristas and the city of Everett over employee rights to wear what they like, according to the Everett Herald. reportEverett is located about 30 miles north of Seattle.
A U.S. District Court in Seattle ruled that Everett’s dress code violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. and Washington State Constitutions. In his 19-page ruling, signed by Federal District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez, the court found that at least part of the ordinance was shaped for gender-based discriminatory purposes.
The court wrote that it was hard to imagine the ordinance being applied equally to men and women in practice. That’s because it bans clothing that is “usually worn by women, not men,” such as midriff or scoop-back shirts and bikinis.
The court also ruled that bikini baristas were “clearly” subject to the ordinance, adding that the profession consisted of a workforce that was almost entirely female.
In 2017, the city enacted a dress code ordinance requiring all employees, owners and operators of “quick service establishments” to wear clothing that covers the upper and lower body. Delis, food trucks, and coffee shops are cited as examples of quick service businesses.
Everett bikini barista stand Hillbilly Hotties owner and some employees have filed a legal complaint challenging the constitutionality of the dress code. They also challenged the city’s obscenity ordinance, but the court dismissed the barista’s claims on all but the dress code issue.
The court has directed the City of Everett to meet with the plaintiffs within 14 days to discuss next steps.