A group of servers at a Twin Peaks in Illinois were graded on their bodies before shifts and were forced to wear lingerie so revealing that police issued citations for indecent exposure, according to a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The former servers at the lodge-style breastaurant in Orland Park detailed their claims on Thursday to the Chicago Tribune, alleging that part of the job description to be a genuine “Twin Peaks Girl” mandated that they sign a form stating that the “essence of the role is based on female sex appeal.”
The ex-employees — two female bartenders and a male busboy — claim the restaurants violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protecting against sex discrimination and harassment.
Sarah Blaylock, 28, said she signed the agreement to join the all-female server staff knowing that she needed to be fit and attractive while on the job. She was also OK with the provided uniform: a cleavage-revealing T-shirt, short khaki shorts and knee-high mountain boots.
But expectations at the Hooters-style restaurant changed six months after its grand opening in April 2016, Blaylock said.
“It was very degrading, and very sad,” Blaylock told the newspaper. “And it took a lot out of each and every one of us.”
Blaylock, another female former bartender named Daryll Rodriguez and a fourth employee who missed the statute of limitations to file an EEOC charge claim they were also forced to line up in the kitchen prior to each shift to be graded on their appearance.
Scores for hair, makeup, costumes and body tone were doled out, with rankings later posted for all to see. Employees with lower scores would be assigned to work in lesser-performing sections of the restaurant, they allege.
“As much as we would all work out, we were all athletic, it was never good enough,” Rodriguez told the newspaper.
The women also claim they rarely received meal breaks, potentially violating state labor laws. And when they did eat, they were forced to order from a “spa menu” with very small proportions and were shamed for eating while working.
The revealing costumes eventually caught the eyes of police during the restaurant’s “Sweetheart Lingerie Week” during Valentine’s Day last year. Cops from Orland Park “observed almost every employee dressed in lingerie that exposed their buttocks,” according to a police report.
Managers at the restaurant got a warning and officers saw that the women had put on appropriate shorts when they returned later that day on Feb. 10, 2017. But plainclothes cops went back the day after and saw four servers wearing “underwear which only covered a portion of the top of their buttocks,” according to a police report.
Police issued citations to the restaurant and four servers, including Blaylock, for violations of city conduct banning indecent exposure, according to the Tribune.
Kenneth Biggers, a 31-year-old former busboy, also claims he was harassed and discriminated against by colleagues and managers for being gay, including being called “Princess” and “Bitchy Kenny” when he spoke up.
In an email to the newspaper, Twin Peaks CEO Joe Hummel said the allegations were “baseless,” adding that the Dallas-based chain doesn’t tolerate harassment or discrimination.
“We look forward to vigorously defending ourselves against these outrageous and baseless allegations,” Hummel said in a statement. “Since this is an ongoing legal matter, it would be inappropriate to discuss further specifics.”
The attorney representing the former employees, Tamara Holder, is a former Fox News contributor who is no stranger to sexual harassment litigation. She received a reported $2.5 million settlement from 21st Century Fox last year after she accused the vice president for Fox News Latino, Francisco Cortes, of trying to force her to perform oral sex on him while alone in his office in 2015.
“Times are changing, and women aren’t putting up with this,” Holder told the Tribune.
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