Tennessee Sex Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Tennessee Sex Discrimination: What you need to know

The Tennessee Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex (TN Code Sec. 4-21-101et seq.). The term "sex" is limited to the designation of an individual as male or female as indicated on the individual's birth certificate. The law applies to all public employers and private employers with eight or more employees.
No individual liability. Effective July 1, 2014, an individual employee or agent of an employer cannot be liable for any violation of the Act (TN Code Sec. 4-21-301(b) ).
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The Tennessee Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating in pay between employees working in the same establishment on the basis of sex for comparable work on jobs requiring comparable skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions (TN Code Sec. 50-2-201et seq.). Different wages or salaries are permitted, however, if based on seniority, merit, quality or quantity of production, or a reasonable factor other than sex. The Act applies to employers not covered by the federal Equal Pay Act, and has the effect of extending equal pay protection to employees who would not otherwise be covered.
Retaliation. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a former employee could proceed with his lawsuit because he was fired immediately after his supervisor learned that he had filed a discrimination charge against the employer (Mickey v. Zeidler Tool and Die Co., 516 F.3d 516 (6th Cir. 2008)). In this case, the supervisor learned of the discrimination charge and immediately walked into the employee's office and terminated his employment, citing a downturn in business, the employee's performance, and a lack of available work. The court ruled that "where ...

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