Everett settles bikini barista lawsuit for $500,000

EVERETT, Wash. — The city of Everett is paying out $500,000 to a former bikini barista stand owner and their employees.

The owner sued the city over its dress code, claiming it infringed on their First Amendment rights.

Last year, a U.S. District Court judge sided with the baristas.

Under a new settlement, the city has agreed to align its dress code with existing standards, meaning the city will no longer require bikini baristas to wear a tank top and shorts, which is something baristas say the city tried to enforce last year.

“Police would come through in their cruisers and they would hand us a piece of paper that had rules (about) what we were allowed and not allowed to wear… and if it were anything other than that we’d be charged with lewd conduct,” a barista told KIRO last fall.

The bikini stands will still operate under a probationary license.

Another provision of the agreement requires stand owners to post information for employees on how to seek help if they are being trafficked or exploited.

“I’m glad we’re for the baristas and against the people that are trying to get them to do things they don’t want to do,” said Everett City Council member Liz Vogeli.

Officials say that keeping the probationary license standards will still allow officials to crack down on stands if they find evidence of lewd behavior.