Federal Lawsuit is alleging that Lingerie Uniforms and Body Grading System led To “Rampant Sexual Harassment”
Former employees of Twin Peaks’ breastaurant chain sue company
Former employees of the “breastaurant” chain Twin Peaks are suing the company, claiming that it “operates as a sexual debauchery establishment for the benefit of a pimping entrepreneur.”
The 34 former employees – including two men – allege sexual harassment, discrimination and “sexual exploitation of young women”.
Twin Peaks, based in Dallas USA, operates lodge-themed bars and restaurants across the country and did not respond to requests from reporters.
The lawsuit comes two years after a small group of former employees of an Orland Park Twin Peaks filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, a necessary first step in pursuing the complaints for discrimination.
In the months that followed, dozens of other former employees complained to the EEOC. The agency granted them the right to sue in December 2019, said Chicago-based plaintiffs attorney Tamara Holder.
The Orland Park restaurant closed last fall. Locally, Twin Peaks continues to operate restaurants in Warrenville and Oakbrook Terrace.
The so-called ‘breastaurant’ chain had 84 locations and $ 335.8 million in sales in 2018, although its website currently lists 78 locations, said Kevin Schimpf, senior director of industrial research at catering data firm Technomic. .
After growing rapidly for several years, sales growth slowed down in 2018, and 2019’s sales increased 2.6%.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. court for the Northern District of Illinois on Thursday.
Twin Peaks is essentially a sports bar that promises “panoramic views”.
Its servers are generally scantily clad young women and its marketing is geared to men.
«Twin Peaks has developed an image where, on the outside, it appears to be a place where young women happily work at revealing clothes while earning big tips.»
«In reality, young women across America are being demeaned, abused, and exploited for the financial and sexual benefit of men.»Chicago Tribune
Among the allegations:
– Management has turned a blind eye to the sexual harassment of its servers by customers.
– The waiters were punished – or rewarded – based on their appearance, and the lawsuit claims the “Twin Peaks Girls” had their appearance assessed before each shift.
– Women who were found to be fat were put on probation and suffered psychological pressure regarding their weight.
– The head office of “breastaurant” also played a role in the judgment with photos sent to the headquarters where the employees were being tried.
– Managers assigned a “tone score” to women, ranging from 1 to 10.
“Girls of higher rank choose the most
more lucrative, leaving the girls with the lower rankings
in the slow and less lucrative sections, sometimes leaving the
low ranking girls with no tip at the end of the day”
The lawsuit also singles out the company’s only female vice president of talent management, Lexi Burns.
The lawsuit claims Burns is acting like a pimp’s best daughter “akin to other commercial sex networks that profit from the exploitation of young women.”
In addition, the complaint refers to the dress that women were forced to wear at events such as “panty nights”.
The chain’s contractual agreement with its employees does not inform them that they agree to buy and wear lingerie, bikinis and “expose their buttocks and their nipples”.
Four African-American women, including a manager, claim to have been victims of racial discrimination. A woman alleges pregnancy discrimination, claiming that she was given a less lucrative portion of the restaurant to serve during her pregnancy. Another alleges discrimination on the basis of disability because of a health problem that affects her appearance.
The lawsuit highlights violations of Section VII of the United States Civil Rights Act, as well as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the United States Disability Act.
The plaintiffs are asking for back wages and unspecified damages.
Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz @ChicagoTribune