By Nathan Duke
A Bayside woman who works at a Fresh Meadows Hooters and another employee of the restaurant from Long Island have filed suit against the chain, known for its hot wings and scantily clad waitresses, after it allegedly failed to reimburse them for their work attire.
Amy Fredericks of Bayside and Gina Rosati of Long Island filed their class-action suit against Hooters Oct. 29 in Brooklyn federal court, according to court papers. The suit accuses the restaurant chain of not only forcing them to pay for their own company uniforms, but also requiring them to donate part of their tips to kitchen staff.
“The law is clear that waitresses cannot be required to share their tips with kitchen employees,” said Louis Pechman, an attorney representing the two women in the suit. “And employers may not require employees who are not making minimum wage to purchase their own uniforms.”
Fredericks works at a Fresh Meadows Hooters on 190th Street, while Rosati is employed by an East Meadow, L.I., chain site.
Both women said they were forced to pay $6 for the tight-fitting Lycra tank top featuring the company’s logo, $5.45 for the restaurant’s orange Dolphin shorts, $3.25 for a pouch, $2.50 for pantyhose and $2.25 for thick white socks.
The suit alleges that Hooters did not reimburse the two women for the purchases.
In addition, the two waitresses were forced to help pay the wages of kitchen employees by giving them a portion of their tips. The Long Island Hooters required its waitresses to contribute 2 percent of their tips to a cash pool for the kitchen staff, the suit alleges.
State labor laws prevent employers from forcing their workers to pay for their own work uniforms, unless their attire is typical street clothing.
According to the company’s Web site, a Hooters uniform consists of a “White Hooters tank top, orange shorts, suntan hose, white socks, solid white shoes, a brown Hooters pouch, a name-tag and, of course, a smile.”
The restaurant, which specializes in spicy-chicken wings and sandwiches, describes itself as “delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.”
Strix LLC, which operates Hooters of Long Island, could not be reached for comment.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.