Ex-employees file $2 million lawsuit against hotel owner

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The two men who claim they were fired from a Brentwood Hotel because they are gay have filed a lawsuit against the hotel’s owner, Tarun Surti, and Surti has filed for bankruptcy.

On Jan. 30, David Hill and Leonard Stoddard filed suit against Surti, owner of the Arte Hotel in Brentwood. Nashville attorney Rob Briley is representing the ex-employees in the $2 million lawsuit which alleges discrimination, breech of contract, defamation and invasion of privacy. View the complete filing here.

Days later, on Feb 5., Surti filed a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, making it the fourth active bankruptcy case he is involved in.  This most recent filing lists Surti and his wife, Lata Surti, as having $2 million in assets and $2.7 million in liabilities and did not reference the suit brought against him by the former employees.

In the suit, Hill and Stoddard site a breech of contract for Surti violating the hotel’s employee handbook which Hill said includes protection for sexual orientation. The suit also says that after Surti fired the men, he held a meeting with other Arte employees where he revealed that they are gay and falsely claimed that they "he been exchanging sex for employment favors."

Stoddard said it could take as long as 16 months before the case goes to trial.

As O&AN previously reported, Hill, who worked as human resources manager at Arte for about a month, was fired Tuesday, Jan. 6, after Surti found out Hill is gay. Two days later, Surti fired Stoddard via email. Stoddard is openly gay and served as Assistant General Manager at Arte for 10 months.

The two men claim that they were fired solely because of their sexual orientation, but Surti said the men were fired because he was scaling back the company’s workforce, not because they are gay.