Lingerie costumes, weekly body tone grades: Twin Peaks complaint alleges sexual harassment

  • Two Twin Peaks waitresses at the Orland Park restaurant say they were forced to line up for weekly body evaluations, wear lingerie that exposed their buttocks and change clothes in full view kitchen staff, according to a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their attorney said the behavior is a widespread part of the corporate culture approved by Twin Peaks' ownership.

      Two Twin Peaks waitresses at the Orland Park restaurant say they were forced to line up for weekly body evaluations, wear lingerie that exposed their buttocks and change clothes in full view kitchen staff, according to a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their attorney said the behavior is a widespread part of the corporate culture approved by Twin Peaks' ownership. Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/26/2018 7:33 PM

Two Chicago-area Twin Peaks waitresses say they were forced to line up for weekly body evaluations, wear lingerie that exposed their buttocks and change clothes in full view kitchen staff, according to a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The women who filed complaints against the company worked at the Orland Park location of the nationwide chain that touts its beer, food and "scenic views." Their attorney, Tamara Holder, says the behavior is a widespread part of the corporate culture approved by Twin Peaks' ownership. The franchise also has locations in Warrenville, Wheeling and Oak Brook Terrace. Those locations are not named in the complaints.

 

"What's great about this case is this isn't just about one bad guy -- a Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer," Holder said, referring to the media moguls accused of sexual harassment. "This is about a corporate culture that abuses women and monopolizes them to line their pockets."

Twin Peaks did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment.

In the Orland Park franchise case, police officers ticketed women for violating indecent exposure laws in February 2017. In the EEOC complaint, former bartender Sarah Blaylock said a restaurant manager told her the cases would be taken care of, but she later learned an attorney hired by Twin Peaks had pleaded guilty to the charges on her behalf, according to the complaint.

The official uniform for Twin Peaks, which waitresses agreed to at the start of employment, is khaki shorts and a V-neck T-shirt, according to the complaint.

"Approximately six months into my employment, management implemented 'dress-up days,' forcing me, and all other female waitresses and bartenders, to wear inappropriate clothing similar to what one would see in a strip club," Blaylock said in the complaint.

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According to the complaint, management instituted a system where women were lined up against a wall and graded on hair, makeup and body "tone."

"Sure, they understood there's a little bit of sex appeal. They were OK with that," Holder said. "They didn't sign up to be graded, stood up against a wall and be told they're fat."

Adrian Morales, a former Twin Peaks manager who worked at locations in Orland Park and Warrenville, confirmed allegations in the complaint. Morales recalled sending his bosses pictures of servers alongside the grade given to each woman. Body tone was the biggest factor in determining a waitress' grade, he said.

"I felt bad about that," Morales said. "I got reprimanded for not being hard enough."

But Joe Hummel, CEO of Twin Peaks, said the allegations are "baseless."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"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," Hummel said.


Holder is a former Fox News contributor awarded a multimillion settlement amid allegations an executive at the media company sexually assaulted her. She said the EEOC complaint is about giving a voice to women in the service industry subjected to sexual harassment.

"If they signed up to be strippers, they'd would've worked for a strip club," Holder said.

Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.

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