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Coyote Ugly Sued For Alleged Illegal Tip Pools and Failure to Pay Overtime


This blog has previously discussed cases where employees sue, not only for unpaid overtime, but for money lost in illegal tip pools. According to the labor law, employees are entitled to the full benefit of the tips they earn and cannot be induced to share that money with other employees.

One company, which has recently been taken to court for this alleged illegal practice, is Coyote Ugly Saloon Development Corp. The class-action lawsuit was filed in Tennessee Middle District Court but now involves current and former employees of the company from all over the country. The plaintiffs are suing for unpaid overtime as well as an illegal tip pool.

According to the lawsuit, security guards for the company were permitted to claim five percent of the tips earned by the other employees, such as bartenders. Certain security personnel were permitted to claim 10 percent of the tip pool if they served as “barbacks” (if they assisted bartenders, restocked the bars, and cleaned the counters). The company argues that the security guards fulfill an important role in assisting clients and promoting the overall theme of the bar. In this way, the company claims, the security personnel earn their share of the tips. The bartenders disagree.

Now the plaintiffs are claiming retaliation from their employer as a result of their involvement in the lawsuit. Such retaliation is also prohibited by law. One of the plaintiffs, Sarah Stone, who served as a bartender-dancer at the Coyote Ugly facility in Oklahoma City, alleges that one of the regional managers threatened her in a status updated to his Facebook page. The manager, Daniel Huckaby, admitted to being intoxicated on the night that he posted the alleged threat on Facebook. He says he has no memory of putting up the post.

The Illinois overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against restaurants, and hotels for forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.

The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Naperville and Willowbrook. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Naperville and Aurora overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.

The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.