CHICAGO (CBS) - A major restaurant chain, Twin Peaks, is facing sexual harassment charges after female employees say they were forced to wear lingerie and line up for weekly body evaluations.
At least four former workers allege sexual harassment against the restaurant chain, which has locations in Orland Park, Wheeling, Oak Brook Terrace, and Warrenville.
According to recently filed complaints, the former employees say they were subjected to inappropriate corporate demands and were threatened termination when they raised concerns about it.
The attorney filing the complaints, Tamara Holder, says the behavior is wide-spread and part of a corporate culture approved by Twin Peaks' ownership.
"Twin Peaks' business model baits young women into wearing one uniform, then after they're hired, orders them to wear crop-tops, bikinis and lingerie," Attorney Holder said. "Twin Peaks is engaging in disgusting, systemic abuse of young women across the country. Many of the young women are still in high school, others are trying to pay college tuition. They signed up to work at a 'family-friendly' restaurant, not a strip joint."
Holder says the female employees were required to line up and participate in weekly body evaluations, where management would grade employees on their hair, nails, makeup, and how toned and fit their body looked in the lingerie. She says pictures would be taken of the women and sent to corporate headquarters, where managers would rate the women on their arms, back, legs and stomach, and make comments like "Somebody must not like a good tone-grade because your arms are fat." Holder explains more about this case in the video below:
Twin Peaks CEO, Joe Hummel, released a statement that said, "Twin Peaks does not tolerate any type of harassment or discrimination and has strict policies and training practices in place to make sure every guest and employee is treated equally and with great respect. We look forward to vigorously defending ourselves against these outrageous and baseless allegations. Since this is an ongoing legal matter, it would be inappropriate to discuss further specifics."
According to a press release issued by Res Publica group, several complaints were made against Dallas-based Twin Peaks, which include:
- Requiring staff to purchase revealing clothing – including see-through lingerie and string bikinis – outside of the company's stated dress code of khaki shorts and a V-neck shirt.
- Requiring women to text pictures from dressing rooms, as they tried on lingerie, so leadership could decide if it was "revealing enough" for work.
- Ignoring police warnings that the required attire violated indecent exposure laws, resulting in Orland Park police issuing citations against the women individually.
- Restaurant officials then hiring an attorney to represent the female employees in court, unbeknownst to them. That attorney pleaded them liable and paid their fines – leaving them with non-expungable convictions on their criminal record.
- Forcing females to change in a door-less space across from the kitchen, subjecting them to harassment from cooks and below the gaze of a video camera, where managers watched them change.
- Lining up females against a wall for weekly "Tone Grade" evaluations, where managers, at the direction of corporate leadership, took pictures and scored the women on their body, hair and makeup, while making degrading comments. Their final grade determined their work shift and location. Pictures were then sent to corporate leadership.
- Forcing female employees to only order off the "spa menu" – a restricted-calorie plate of food not available to the public.
- Harassment, discrimination and retaliation was not limited to female employees. A male employee alleges he was repeatedly questioned about his sexual orientation, called "princess" and other derogatory terms, then denied regular breaks, as required by law.
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