The Tennessee Disability Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of physical, mental, or visual disability, including the use of a guide dog. The law covers the state, its political subdivisions, and private employers with eight or more employees (TN Code Sec. 8-50-103).
"Disability" defined. "Disability" is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of having such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Current illegal drug use or addiction to a controlled substance is specifically excluded from the definition (TN Code Sec. 4-21-102 (3)).
Reasonable accommodation. State law does not require employers to provide applicants or employees with reasonable accommodation for a disability. Although there have been conflicting decisions by federal district courts about whether reasonable accommodation is required under state law, the Tennessee Court of Appeals has issued a decision clarifying that the state law does not require employers to provide reasonable accommodation for an employee's disability (Jones v. Sharp Elecs. Corp., No. W2013-01817-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2014)). The decision applies to employers in Tennessee with fewer than 15 employees. Employers with 15 or more employees are subject to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that requires reasonable accommodation.