EVERETT, WA (Associated Press) — A legal battle over a dress code for bikini baristas at coffee stands is ending after a city north of Seattle agreed to pay $500,000 to the owner and employees who sued over it six years ago.
The Everett City Council voted unanimously this week to authorize Mayor Cassie Franklin to sign the settlement agreement with Jovanna Edge and employees, The Daily Herald reported.
Plaintiffs had been seeking more than $3 million in damages and attorney fees.
Under the agreement, the city will keep most of its rules for probationary licensing of coffee stands and other quick-service business but will no longer dictate that baristas wear at least tank tops and shorts.
Instead the city will align dress code rules with an existing lewd conduct standard that makes it a crime to publicly expose too much of one’s private parts. Another provision mandates that business owners post materials for employees with information on how to seek help if they are being trafficked or otherwise exploited.
“I am glad we’re for the baristas and against the people who are trying to get them to do things they don’t want to do,” City Council member Liz Vogeli said after the vote.
The settlement may end the saga that started in 2009 when the city said it received complaints prompting investigations that revealed some stands were selling sex shows and sex acts and allowing customers to physically touch the baristas. Four people were arrested and prosecuted.