Tennessee Illegal Termination Laws

You may have heard that Tennessee is an “at-will” state when it comes to employment. This typically means that employers are allowed to terminate an employee at any time and for any reason. Conversely, employees are allowed to quit at any time and for any reason. However, employers in Tennessee are not allowed to discriminate against workers when they are making termination decisions. There are both federal and state laws in place that protect employees from facing certain types of discrimination in the workplace.

What type of discrimination is illegal in Tennessee workplaces?

When we turn to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), we can see that there are various types of discrimination that are illegal in the workplace. Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against anyone due to their:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Genetic Information
  • Harassment
  • National Origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Race/Color
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex

Tennessee laws also prohibits employers from discriminating against “any employee on the basis of the employee’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, or disability.”

How does this type of discrimination factor into employment decisions?

Discrimination has long played a part and employment history in the United States and here in Tennessee. Yes, this type of discrimination is utterly abhorrent and has no place in a place of employment. Unfortunately, discrimination still exists in the workplace today. Aside from decisions made pertaining to the termination of an employee, discrimination is also seen in decisions related to:

  • Interviewing and hiring
  • Promotion and pay
  • Various employment benefits
  • Training opportunities
  • Furlough and layoff
  • and more

Because Tennessee is an “at-will” employment state, it can be difficult to recognize when an employee has been terminated as a result of discrimination. It would be rare for an employer to outright say that they are firing somebody due to the color of their skin, their age, their religion, or their gender.

What can an employee do if they have been wrongfully terminated?

Anyone who has been terminated from their job in Tennessee who thinks that the termination was due to discrimination on the part of their employer needs to seek assistance from a skilled Tennessee employment attorney as soon as possible. These cases can become incredibly complex, and proving that the termination was based on illegal discrimination will often take a thorough investigation.

A Tennessee employment law attorney will have the resources and legal experience necessary to obtain all evidence related to a person’s termination. This could include internal company documents such as employee performance records and the employer’s history of hiring and firing decisions.

What kind of compensation is available in these cases?

If it can be proven that an employee was terminated due to a type of discrimination that is illegal under federal or state law, the employee may be entitled to various types of compensation. This can include:

  • Front and back pay
  • Interest on lost wages
  • Reinstatement if necessary and desired
  • Receiving any due promotions
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Possible punitive damages against the employer

The total amount of compensation available in these cases will vary based on the facts related to each particular case. Properly calculating these expenses is important, and a Nashville employment agreement lawyer will often work with various economic and financial experts to ensure that their client receives the compensation they deserve.