Clarksville, TN asked in Employment Law for Tennessee

Q: is discussing local news that involves someone at work classifiable as gossip and fire able offense.

I know that in an at will state an employer can fire you for pretty much any reason or no reason at all but my boss has threatened to fire me for gossiping because myself and a couple of other co-workers were discussing our boss's recent arrest for assault. This was in our local news so it is public knowledge so would this actually be consider gossiping. I see it has discussing the local news which just happens to involve our boss

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Answered
  • Cleveland, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: I think that you have partially answered your own question. Generally speaking, Tennessee is an employment-at-will State, which means that you can get terminated for any reason or no reason at all, so long as the reason is not illegal or you are protected by contract. Examples of "illegal" activity include, but are not limited to whistleblowing (i.e., turning in the company for illegal activities), being terminated for filing a workers' compensation claim, race, age, sex or religious discrimination, violations with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and many others. If you are serious about it and feel that you had a contract or that the company did something illegal, then you should consult with a local employment law attorney.

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