Sydney, Mar 20 (ANI): The employees of five Hooters restaurants have filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status against the business owners in the Sacramento area, Fresno and Bakersfield, claiming employees are treated unfairly under California labour laws.
In a complaint filed in Sacramento Superior Court, employees claim they paid for their own uniforms, worked through breaks, worked "off the clock" without pay and had their tips skimmed by management.
Burton Boltuch, a lawyer hired to represent them, said the suit was filed on behalf of about 1000 employees who work at the restaurants or did so within the past five years.
Each restaurant is separately incorporated but all of them are owned by Parco Holdings.
Boltuch said although the Atlanta-based restaurant chain is renowned for its scantily clad female waitresses, the lawsuit extends to all its hourly workers.
Employees who work more than their five-hour shift are not getting the 30-minute meal break mandated by law.
Boltuch also said the waitresses must make promotional public appearances, for example at golf tournaments, and are not compensated, and also spend time doing paperwork at the restaurant after clocking off.
He said the waitresses must buy their uniform, which includes orange shorts, logo tank top, socks, pantyhose and shoes, from Hooters because the restaurant demands a certain look.
Prices range from three or four dollars for open-foot, suntan pantyhose, up to 55 dollars for the shoes.
"They are never allowed to wear it away from the restaurant," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him as saying.
Under California law, an employer is obliged to pay for any specialised uniform.
Managers scrutinise the appearance of female employees and demand changes if they do not like what they see.
If their hair is imperfect, nail polish too dark, or they have some other perceived flaw, the women must correct it on their own time.
"They could spend a half-hour to 45 minutes getting ready for the Hooters look," he added.
Boltuch and several other lawyers have filed two other lawsuits alleging similar violations against Hooters restaurants in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles.
The company could not be reached for comment. (ANI)