Everett Settles Bikini Barista Lawsuits For $500,000.00 + Added Protections For Baristas

April 6, 2023


Editor’s Update Thursday 8:10 AM: Here’s the portion of the Everett City Council meeting where Assistant City Attorney Ramsey Ramerman explains the settlement and the Council takes their vote:


Bikini drawing

As long as they don’t violate the city’s lewd conduct ordinance, bikinis will be allowed.

bikini barista

Assistant City Attorney Ramsey Ramerman explains the settlement to the City Council in Everett, Washington Wednesday night.

bikini stand

In 2014 Everett made a show out of destroying some bikini barista stands.

Tonight the Everett City Council approved a settlement with four former baristas who had sued the City of Everett, Washington for more than three million dollars. Here’s some background followed by a press release from the City.

About a decade ago, coffee stands featuring scantily clad baristas began appearing in Everett, Washington. Complaints began coming into the city about prostitution, indecent exposure and other issues. After conducting expensive investigations into alleged lewd conduct at some bikini stands starting in 2013 and continuing for about three years, Prosecutors won convictions against at least one stand owner for promoting prostitution and another for exploitation of a minor. A former Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy was also discovered to be tipping off a bikini barista stand owner to when investigations were happening in exchange for sexual favors.

In 2017, the City of Everett enacted a quick service probationary license ordinance that adopted a dress code for employees of coffee stands and other so-called quick service businesses. The city required a dress code that mandated employees wear shorts and tank tops. No more g-strings or pasties.

It also developed a probationary license that would be triggered if a stand had a violation of the lewd conduct ordinance. The stand could lose their license if they then received more than two violations.

The city was sued by bikini stand employees and a Federal Judge issued a preliminary injunction on the licensing ordinance based on the first amendment and the g-string prohibition based on the 14th amendment. The city appealed to the 9th circuit court and won reversal in 2019. The case hung around in court until November 2022 when a court ruled that the City’s license ordinance violated equal protection standards. If Everett wanted to appeal that ruling, there would be another court battle that could prove expensive for the City of Everett so the City entered into a settlement agreement.

Under the settlement approved by the Everett City Council Wednesday night the City will be able to keep the probationary license ordinance but has to amend the dress code to match the City’s lewd conduct ordinance. The requirement that baristas wear tank tops and shorts would be dropped. The City will also pay half-a-million dollars to the four baristas who filed the original three-million-dollar suit.

Here is a press release sent out by the City of Everett, Washington tonight explaining the settlement.

The City of Everett announced that a settlement has been reached on the ongoing litigation related to ordinance 3560-17 (enacted August 2017) that was intended to address public health and safety concerns and deter unlawful or lewd conduct from occurring at quick service facilities, including drive through coffee stands.

The settlement caps the City of Everett’s liability and still maintains a crucial licensing component that will better allow the City to protect workers and hold the business owners responsible for violations and illegal conduct.

“This has always been about protecting the best interest of our community and preventing exploitation,” said Cassie Franklin, mayor of the City of Everett. “The amendments to the ordinance we are agreeing to enact will provide us with a new tool for addressing issues at individual stands while also providing support to employees that are being coerced or exploited in any way.”

In this settlement approved by the Everett City Council, the City of Everett retains the ability to require probationary licensing for any quick service facility that is found to be violating the dress requirements.

As part of this licensing, business owners are mandated to post materials that will provide employees with information on how to seek help if they are being trafficked or otherwise exploited.

If a business receives two or more infractions for violations of the minimum dress requirement while under the Quick Service Probationary License, this would result in the revocation of their business license.

“It has taken a significant amount of work to get to this point and I am proud of what we have accomplished to help protect our community,” said Ramsey Ramerman, deputy city attorney. “The amended ordinance better enables us to hold those who are actually responsible accountable for the conduct that occurs within some quick service facilities.”

In addition to the revised licensing requirements, the City of Everett will also pay the former coffee stand employees a negotiated amount of $500,000 in damages as part of the settlement. Plaintiffs were originally seeking over $3.3 million in damages and attorney fees.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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