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Tennessee Labor Laws
The labor and employment attorneys in Morgan & Morgan’s Tennessee offices protect the rights of workers who have been treated unjustly in the workplace. If you believe you were the victim of wage theft, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, or another unfair or unethical labor practice, our legal team is here to help.
Fill out a free case evaluation today. It costs nothing upfront, and we get paid only if you win.
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Wage and hour laws are designed to ensure employees receive appropriate compensation for the work they do.
- Minimum Wage: Tennessee is one of a handful of states without a minimum wage law. However, employers are obligated to adhere to the federal minimum wage ($7.25/hour as of 2020).
- Overtime: Tennessee laws do not address overtime, either. Thus, employers must follow the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, employees classified as non-exempt are owed time-and-a-half for all hours worked above 40 in a week.
- Breaks: Tennessee law mandates that employers provide a meal break of at least 30 minutes to any employee who is scheduled to work at least six consecutive hours. This break may be paid or unpaid, at the discretion of the employer.
- Leave: In Tennessee, there is no law mandating that employers provide paid or unpaid sick leave. However, under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various individual and family medical situations.
Despite these federal and state laws, some employers deny their employees their rightful pay and time off through unethical and illegal means, such as:
- Paying employees less than minimum wage
- Misclassifying workers as exempt from receiving overtime
- Providing “comp” time rather than overtime pay
- Making tipped workers pool their tips with non-tipped employees
- Denying leave afforded under the FMLA
Workplace discrimination is the practice of treating a person or group differently based on legally protected characteristics such as race, age, sex, religion, national origin, and disability. The federal government and the state of Tennessee have laws in place to protect workers against this treatment.
However, not all employers are ethical in the way they go about hiring, firing, and managing employees. Instead, some employers:
- Refuse to hire applicants because of their skin color
- Unfairly discipline members of minority groups
- Refuse to promote employees because of their religious beliefs
- Deny training and opportunities for advancement to older workers
- Impose job eligibility criteria to screen out people with disabilities
- Deny equal pay and benefits to employees based on gender
When employees are subjected to unwelcome remarks or actions, it may constitute workplace harassment. This can take many forms:
- Gratuitous physical conduct against another person’s will (e.g., pinching or hugging)
- Making sexual or lewd jokes
- Remarking on an employee’s sexual orientation
- Commenting on a coworker’s appearance
- Saying racial slurs
- Making offensive gestures
- Impersonating someone with a disability
- Hanging offensive materials on the wall
Tennessee is an “at-will” employment state, meaning an employee can be fired for almost any reason, with or without warning. However, there are exceptions to the at-will rule which may constitute wrongful termination, or the unlawful dismissal of an employee, including:
- Discrimination: If you were fired because of a protected characteristic such as your race, sex, religion, or disability, your employer may have violated federal and/or state law.
- Breach of Contract: If you have a contract promising you employment for a certain length of time, you are not considered an at-will employee. Therefore, if your employer terminates your employment without good cause, you may have grounds for legal action.
- Retaliation: If your employer fired you for filing a complaint against the company, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against them.
Contact a Tennessee Labor & Employment Attorney
Labor and employment violations can have profound effects on your financial security and emotional well-being. At Morgan & Morgan, we understand this, and that’s why we fight on behalf of workers like you who have been treated unjustly.
If you suspect your employer or a coworker violated your workplace rights, contact one of our Tennessee offices. Fill out a free, no-risk case evaluation to get started.