NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Staff at a popular Printers Alley bar say they were unjustly fired when investors came in during the middle of a shift last week and told employees there to stand down, but owners at the bar say they were justified in the decisions they made.
Jake Ross, a former employee at the Alley Taps bar says last week, some of the bar's investors came in, and took over, bringing their own staff with them, including someone for Ross' job, without any notice.
"We were pretty much instructed by our management to stand down and we watched it all happen," Ross said.
Since then, Ross says, he and more than 120 contracted employees, many who book their jobs through Jake, have been out of work.
Jake says a chancery court complaint has already been filed about how the incident with the investors went down.
But he says even if they had a legal right to let the entire staff go, he says it's still not the right thing to do.
"I don't think throwing out 10 internal employees and 120 contractors we hire for music is just," Ross said.
Representatives of Alley Taps say they have since hired many of the 120 contractors back, particularly musicians.
Ross says he's now looking for his next opportunity for work, along with the hundred plus others at Alley Taps that he says are in the same boat.
"It's hard to come by sound work and music work in this town, to get booked here. So to not have the flexibility and control of artists who should have work in this town is scary, and it all got taken like that from me," Ross said.
On Saturday, Rose Melillo, speaking for the owners and investors of Alley Taps, responded to NewsChannel 5's request for comment. In that response, Melillo shared the termination letter presented to Alley Taps manager Brian Harris. The letter cites "gross misconduct, grossly negligent conduct, reckless conduct, intentional misconduct and breaching the standard of care owed the membership" as reasons for the termination.
The termination letter does not go into detail about the specific reasons, but in an email to NewsChannel 5, Melillo says owners have evidence that staff at the bar "were keeping artists' tips which is the main way they make their money." Melillo said the owners and investors at the bar chose to terminate the staff's employment by a majority vote.
"Trust that both Belcourt Taps and Alley Taps work tirelessly to make sure Artists have a place to play their original music," Melillo said in the email.
Harris has filed a lawsuit in Davidson County chancery court against Melillo and the owners and investors of Alley Taps, claiming that the allegation of bar staff stealing money from musicians is slanderous and without factual basis.