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Two waitresses sue Hooters over uniform, tips

Two waitresses have filed a class-action suit against the Hooters of Long Island chain, alleging their restaurants violate labor laws by requiring them to pay for their fitted uniforms and share tips.

Waitresses Gina Rosati of Copiague and Amy Frederick of Bayside say that on Long Island, Hooters requires them to pay $5.45 for their orange hot shorts.

The women also have to pay $2.50 for beige pantyhose, $6 for a Lycra tank top with the Hooters logo, $3.25 for a pouch and $2.25 for socks, and pay out of their own pockets to have the uniforms cleaned weekly, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

When an employer requires a uniform that is not part of a regular wardrobe, the employer has to pay, the lawsuit says. It also alleges that the servers are paid only $4.60 an hour and are supposed to be allowed to keep all tips but are forced to give 2 percent of their tips to kitchen staff.

"The waitresses can't be required to share their tips with kitchen employees and can't be required under federal and state labor law to buy and clean their own uniforms," said Louis Pechman of New York City, who filed the suit along with Raymond Nardo of Mineola.

Pechman said more than 100 waitresses have been affected by the policies at Hooters restaurants in East Meadow, Islandia and Fresh Meadows.

He declined to make Rosati or Frederick available for an interview.

Rosati refused to comment Friday, referring questions to her lawyer.

Hooters of Long Island is owned by Richard Buckley, Christopher Levano and Strix Llc, according to the lawsuit. A person answering the phone at the company's office in East Meadow said the owners had no comment.

- With Keith Herbert

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