Tennessee Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

Tennessee Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

Tennessee is an “employment-at-will” state. This means that either the employer or the employee may end the employment relationship at any time, without notice or a reason.
There are, however, some exceptions to the "at-will" rule that have been created by statutes and court decisions. Federal laws, a collective bargaining agreement, or individual employment contract may also place limitations upon an otherwise at-will relationship.
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As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Communications with public officials. It is unlawful for public employers to discriminate against employees because they exercised their right to communicate with an elected public official (TN Code Sec. 8-50-603).
Crime victims. No state employee who has been the victim of a crime can be disciplined or discharged because the person takes any lawful action to cause the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the perpetrator (TN Code Sec. 4-4-122).
Equal pay complaints. Employers are prohibited from discharging or disciplining an employee for enforcing or helping to enforce the equal pay laws (TN Code Sec. 50-2-202).
Jury duty. Employers may not discipline or discharge employees for absences resulting from service on a jury. The employer is, however, entitled to have prompt notice of an employee's summons to jury duty. (TN Code Sec. 22-4-106).
Lie detector tests. Employers may not take any ...

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