A chain of drive-thru coffee stands, collectively referred to as Hillbilly Hotties, is staffed by bikini-clad women sued the city of Everett, Washington in September 2017 because they believed two city ordinances violated their right to free expression. The City Council was accused of passing ordinances that were vague, confusing, and unlawfully targeting women.
One of the city ordinances mentioned in the lawsuit requires that workers wear, at the very least, a tank top and a pair of shorts. It also specifically applies to individuals who work in “quick service” environments, including fast food and food trucks. The other city ordinance redefined how the city defined lewd conduct and made a new crime: facilitating lewd conduct. The city’s argument for passing those two ordinances was “a proliferation of crimes of a sexual nature occurring at bikini barista stands throughout the city.”
Federal Judge Says Hillbilly Hotties Can Continue Business Operations During Course of Lawsuit
U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman ruled on December 4, 2017 that the bikini baristas could continue their business operations and included an injunction to temporarily prevent the City of Everett from enforcing the two new city ordinances. One of the plaintiff’s, Jovanna Edge, stated that “This is just another step in the progress of women’s rights.”
Judge Pechman stated in her ruling that the city’s attempt to create a dress code for private businesses may violate the First Amendment.