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Tennessee Employment Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is this racial harassment or just a dumb comment?

My wife is an accountant at a firm in Nashville. My wife is the only black person in her office. One day a coworker of hers made the comment "the KKK wasn't that bad." Completely out of the blue. It obviously upset her but she didn't make a scene. Later that night she texted one of her superiors to... Read more »

Rhiannon Herbert
Rhiannon Herbert answered on Feb 26, 2020

If you'd like to pursue something here, your best bet would be a hostile work environment claim based on race. However, establishing such a claim requires proof that the racially discriminatory comments your wife experienced were both severe (in terms of what was said), and pervasive (meaning the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Agricultural Law for Tennessee on
Q: I was let go today and sold a service that was complete, but not paid for yet. Am I still eligible for the commission?

We aren't paid out our commissions until the client pays. I was not terminated for poor job performance, and I completed most of this particular job myself before I was terminated.

Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Jan 16, 2020

If you have a contract, then you should have a breach of contract action.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: employer not paying

i work a job where i make only commission, i get paid to pull snack items and only get paid to do that. the delivery drivers sometimes brings back all the items i pulled and im forced to put up the items without pay and it takes hours to put up. is it legal for them not to pay me for the work i do?

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Jan 14, 2020

This may very well be illegal but more facts are necessary. An employer may not misclassify an employee as an independent contractor to dodge paying taxes, social security, and unemployment insurance. You should consider speaking with a local employment attorney to determine your options.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Libel & Slander and Sexual Harassment for Tennessee on
Q: My boss is aware that a customer sexually harasses his staff & doesnt care. Can I post that on fb w/ his name w/out gett

ing sued?

Carrie Dyer
Carrie Dyer answered on Dec 31, 2019

You should consult with an attorney who practices employment law in Tennessee prior to posting anything about your boss or his business on Facebook, even if you don't explicitly identify him or the company by name. Defamation laws are state-specific. An employment attorney will be able to help... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can a former employer use a former employee's photograph on their social media page against the employee's consent?
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Oct 25, 2019

That is a good question. The answer regarding whether Facebook pages can be admissible evidence is in debate. In Massachusetts, a court unamimounsly decided that they could. I have not seen a decision down here. As a criminal defense attorney, the problem, in my mind, is that you cannot state... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: My employer sent me an email telling me to report to a different office for my "new role" without any discussion

Is this legal? They're was no discussion or paperwork, it would be a supervisor role without title change or pay change. There was never a discussion

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Oct 22, 2019

Unless you have an employment contract or government regulated job, the tasking communication to you can take any form. This is an employment at will State, and you can be terminated for any or no reason.

2 Answers | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can a charge that was withheld adjudication be seen as a conviction on a employment background check

The charges where in Florida I live in Tennessee now. I have disclosed it on my application but was wondering do I have to and how it shows on a background check ? The judge withheld adjudication I plead no contest if that’s the proper saying and the judge with held adjudication in the case

Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Oct 19, 2019

What do you mean by "withheld adjudication"? Generally, only convictions and pleas (which are convictions) show up as convictions.

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Business Formation, Business Law and Intellectual Property for Tennessee on
Q: Deformation, lost wages, emotional distress. Investor for start up. Wanted 40% after 3mo in. Can I sue!

Contracts with local clients- established. Investor wanted to deposit “monies” from unknown sources into business account. I am a Lease holder and investor has put myself and the employees out. Investor has made slanderous comments to members of the business community. I have lost all wages,... Read more »

Frank J. Steiner
Frank J. Steiner answered on Aug 19, 2019

Based on the facts provided you may have a claim for tortious interference with business relationship.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I be fired from healthcare job if I have a pending felony and been suspended already
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Aug 15, 2019

Unless you have a Contract or an Employee Handbook saying otherwise, yes you can be fired for any reason in Tennessee. This is an employment at will State. And being charged with a Felony often generates job loss. I recommend finding another job while you fight the Indictment. Being charged... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: My employer is offering something to one employee and not the other. Is that legal?

I had to wait two years to start a retirement account. An employee that has been here four months is eligible for the retirement plan, but another employee who has been here eight months has not even been asked to participate in the plan.

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 12, 2019

One would need a lot more information to determine an answer. Does the employee have a contract? Employment handbook? Perhaps there's an opt-in period? Consult a local employment attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is my non compete clause enforceable?

Non compete clause (Nashville) States I can't work within 55 miles for 1 year after quiting my job as a tattoo artist because we have "trade secrets" however, if I am an unlicensed artist for one year I am no longer able to get licensed to be an artist and I would have to completely re do my... Read more »

Mr. James Charles Wright
Mr. James Charles Wright answered on Aug 12, 2019

I think the answer, unfortunately is "it depends." The issue is whether the non-compete is reasonable. fifty-five miles appears at first blush to be a reasonable distance to keep a tattoo artist from setting up shop "next door" and competing against the employer. But it may not be under your... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for Tennessee on
Q: What do I do about a company that is refusing to let me off with a doctor statement I was injured on the job

I work for praxis in Savannah Tennessee I got hurt on the job with a chemical that got in my eye. I went to there doctor they really didn’t tell me what was going on other than you will b fine. I went to the Er and the doctor at the Er put me off for the rest of the week. I gave the company the... Read more »

Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Aug 1, 2019

There seem to be a few options. First, I would look at the workers' compensation law angle. Generally speaking, pursuant to T.C.A. Section 50-6-204, you have thirty (30) days to turn in a workers' compensation injury to your employer. If the thirty (30) days have not passed, then turn in written... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Are there any rules regarding what documents a private employer is required to give a former employee?
Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Jul 24, 2019

Yes, in Tennessee, an employer should give an employee a separation notice when the employee no longer works for the employer. Find the TN DOL website and you can read more about those issues. Good luck.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: How can I retrieve my 401K after employment termination?

I was terminated from my job and was told to contact the retirement plan services for my 401K. When I did so they told me that I could not get my 401K until they received a termination notice from my ex employer. I offered to fax them the copy of the termination notice they gave me the day I was... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jul 22, 2019

Whoever is the Plan Administrator (a Trustee) is in control, and that is not the former employer (who has nothing to do with it). If you are not paid within a month after doing everything they ask, then hire a competent attorney. It is very difficult to go after your property since it is almost... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: In Tennessee can an employer ask that a potential employee have their own background check and fingerprints done?
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jul 18, 2019

Absolutely. You do not have to work there, and can be fired for any reason.

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Employment Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is a gun gesture with no accompanying mitigating gestures considered a threat if it happens in the workplace?

I sent a complaint to my manager. He talked me out of going to HR with the complaint. I over heard some people involved in my complaint make comments that suggested my complaint was leaked to them. On the day of, I heard him talk about being worried about being fired and after lunch he tapped my... Read more »

Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Jul 1, 2019

That appears to be a very fact-based question that may need some more development by witnesses that were around, if any, and/or the strength of your own testimony.

If you knew that there was truly no gun and that the guy was just simply harassing you, it may not rise to the level of a...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Contracts for Tennessee on
Q: I am an independent contractor for Uber Eats and while I was working for them my tire got damaged plus I spilled ( below

(Continued from above )Plus I spilled a drink from one of the orders on the floor in my car which I had to pay to have cleaned because the server didn’t prepare it properly. Is it possible to get compensated for that

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jun 10, 2019

The amount of money involved is way too small to be of interest to most lawyers. FYI, the law is not designed to solve every little problem that comes your way during this lifetime; the Latin phrase for this rule is "De minimus non curat lex."

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law and Tax Law for Tennessee on
Q: What do I do if my former employer never sends me my W2 information and tells me I just have to find it online?

My former employer never mailed me my W2. When January 31 passed, I went to my old job and asked about my W2 and was promptly told that they didn’t mail them and I had to go online to the store’s employee portal and get it myself. I tried to figure out what my old manager was talking about, and... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 6, 2019

Your employer is required to file a copy of your W-2 (and that of all other employees) with the IRS; call the IRS consumer line and asked them either to give you the details over the phone or send you a copy.

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law for Tennessee on
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... Read more »

Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq.
Mr. Kent Thomas Jones Esq. answered on Apr 14, 2019

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"... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Employment Law, Personal Injury, Criminal Law and Traffic Tickets for Tennessee on
Q: Can your arresting officer contact your employer and inform them of your arrest and reason for arrest?

I Live in Hamilton County Tennessee, I was on my way on from work and was pulled over by an officer due to my broken windshield. Long story short she took me to jail for possession of controlled substance (12.8G Cannabis to be exact) I Have epilepsy and have long used cannabis to help control my... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Apr 12, 2019

Yes, most certainly. If the Officer lies then slander may occur on possibly a personal level, as well as by the Department.

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