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Hooters Suit Settled, 'Indignities' to End

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on December 13, 2011 8:56 AM

A class-action Hooters lawsuit settlement will bring an end to "indignities" suffered by the restaurant chain's waitresses, an attorney for the workers says.

The suit, filed in March 2010 in Sacramento, involved about 400 Hooters workers at the chain's central California locations who claimed the company violated their rights as employees, KCRA-TV reports. Hooters is known for outfitting voluptuous waitresses in tight-fitting t-shirts.

The workers alleged they weren't allowed to take breaks as required by law, had to pay out-of-pocket for their uniforms, and were held financially responsible when customers bailed on paying their checks.

All of those practices will now change, at least in central California, plaintiffs' attorney Burton Boltuch told KCRA-TV. Boltuch called the settlement "vindication" for the "indignities endured" by the workers.

The Hooters lawsuit settlement gives the workers financial compensation, Boltuch said, though he declined to go into details. The agreement also relaxes Hooters' uniform requirements, KCRA-TV reports -- though it's not clear exactly what those relaxed requirements will entail.

A Hooters spokesman declined to comment about the settlement. But an employee-rights advocate told KCRA it sends a powerful message to the restaurant industry, in which workers are often denied breaks as a matter of course.

Breaks and meal periods are not required under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. But they are mandated by law in many states including California, which also requires employers to pay the cost of workers' uniforms.

This Hooters lawsuit is actually Boltuch's third against the company. He's also brought similar suits against Hooters restaurants in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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