A class-action lawsuit brought against a group of Bay Area Hooters restaurants by the establishments' waitresses can proceed, a state appeals court ruled this week, denying the restaurants' claim that the employees' complaints should be settled by a labor arbitrator and not in court.
In a decision issued Feb. 14, the California Court of Appeals for the First District ruled that Hott Wings, Inc. -- the company behind Hooters franchises in San Francisco, Dublin, Campbell and Fremont -- had foregone its right to settle employees' claims through binding labor arbitration.
"The circumstances here, considered as a whole, establish that
defendants unreasonably delayed in moving to compel arbitration and
conducted voluminous discovery to gain information regarding plaintiffs'
case not available in arbitration," the three-judge panel of the
appeals court stated.
In the lawsuit, filed in March 2010, a group of "Hooters girls" -- servers at the restaurant chain famous for employing busty women attired in skimpy, tight-fitting clothing -- assert that they were forced to buy their own uniforms and were not given an adequate portion of tips, in what they say amounted to violations of California employment law.
The first Hooters opened in the Bay Area by Hott Wings, which later expanded elsewhere, is on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf.
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