Tennessee Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Tennessee Discrimination: What you need to know

The Tennessee Human Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin (TN Code Sec. 4-21-101 et seq.). The Act covers all public employers and private employers with eight or more employees, including employment agencies and labor unions.
Under the Act, it is unlawful for a covered employer to:
• Fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against an individual based on a protected characteristic.
• Limit, segregate, or classify an individual for employment in any way that deprives or tends to deprive the individual of employment opportunities or adversely affects employment status.
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It is unlawful for any person, including an employer of any size, to:
• Retaliate or discriminate in any manner against an individual because he or she has opposed an unlawful discriminatory practice; made a charge; filed a complaint; or testified, assisted, or participated in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the Act.
• Intentionally interfere with the state human rights commission in the performance of its duties or exercise of its power.
• Intentionally obstruct or prevent an individual from complying with the Act or a commission order.
• Violate the terms of a conciliation agreement made under the Act.
No individual liability. An individual employee or agent of an employer cannot be liable for any violation of the Act (TN Code Sec. 4-21-301(b) ).
Volunteer rescue workers. Employers are prohibited from terminating an employee who is a volunteer rescue squad worker because the employee is late or absent to work in order to respond to an emergency (TN Code Sec. 4-21-101 ). Employers may require a written statement from the employee’s ...

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