NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A legal settlement has now ended a lawsuit filed by two employees of the Downtown Sporting Club on Lower Broadway, which alleged they were forced to split their tips with staff like bar backs, who don’t have contact with customers, and thus shouldn’t have been tipped.
The owners of Downtown Sporting Club, Strategic Hospitality, agreed to pay $427,000, including nearly $250,000 in back-pay and damages to 261 employees.
Hayden Smith, one of the original employees who filed suit, says in the months since the lawsuit, many employees told him they thought that’s just how the business has always been done.
"I talked to so many people who are on the case with me," Smith said. "When we first spoke they were like, 'I’ve been treated this way at so many restaurants, I didn’t realize that was something they weren’t supposed to be doing.'"
The business owners did not admit fault as part of the settlement.
Strategic Hospitality said they vehemently protest the allegations of the lawsuit as unfounded and egregious.