Employees of a Bikini Beans Coffee franchise in Phoenix, AZ, have filed a federal lawsuit against the owners, claiming withheld tips, forced work without pay after their shifts and a hostile work environment.
At Bikini Beans Coffee, where baristas in skimpy swimwear serve cold brews and chai lattes, the bikini represents “empowerment, freedom, functionality, and togetherness.” That’s how the local coffee chain’s marketing copy describes things, at least.
At odds with these vague ideals of female empowerment is the actual work culture at Bikini Beans, according to multiple former employees interviewed by Phoenix New Times. They describe a harsh and controlling work environment where the staff members — many of them young women between the ages of 18 and 21 — are frequently subject to verbal abuse when they don’t properly greet the store’s owners, and where baristas’ tips are confiscated if they are late by only a few minutes.
On July 30, two former employees filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of Bikini Beans Coffee, Benjamin and Regina Lyles. It alleges the company illegally underpaid employees and violated state and federal labor law. Various allegations in the complaint — which include claims that employees weren’t paid minimum wages and were required to work unpaid after clocking out — align with accounts provided to New Times during interviews in recent weeks with former employees.
Oh, wah, wah, wah. You know, when I was in high school, I worked in a deli. We were paid slave wages, had to kill the cockroaches on our own time, and had nothing to look at except the crazy gorgeous blonde cashiers at the pizza shop next door.
But did I cry when I literally walked into the candy shelf because I was staring at Jenny? Well, actually I did for a while, and then I had to restock the candy shelf. So… yeah. Think about it.