Did Franchisor Know What Was Hidden Under Tilted Kilt?
"Meow, meow... you're a dirty kitty."
A group of waitresses have sued a Chicago franchisee of Tilted Kilt alleging harassment. The restaurant, a cross between Hooters and Braveheart, is marketed with photos of buxom young ladies bursting out of their plaid... um... covering.
They have also sued the franchisor Tilted Kilt Franchise Operating LLC ("TKFO, LLC"), on the grounds that the franchisor "maintains control over the operations" of the franchised location, and specifically alleges that the waitresses were joint employees of the franchisee and franchisor. One element of the "joint employee" theory is that the waitresses were given an employee handbook published by the franchisor.
The specific actions are set forth in the Complaint, and include requests for a menage a trois and pouring water on a waitress and saying "That's how Daddy likes it-- with your panties wet."
The Complaint also alleges that franchisee Chris Tomaras pays his attorneys $400 per hour; the inclusion in the Complaint seems to imply that if a franchisee can afford a $400/hour attorney the franchisee is capable of all sorts of nefarious acts.
The franchisor has not filed an Answer to the lawsuit, but it released a statement to Chicago radio station WLS 890 AM stating:
From the inception of our concept we have taken affirmative steps through the training we provide to our franchisees about our standards and policies, our franchise agreement terms requiring that franchisees operate their locations in compliance with all laws, including workplace laws, and the operation standards set forth in our operations manuals
No response yet from the alleged franchisee tomcat.