In Tennessee, there are labor laws to protect workers’ rights within the state. Employees should look carefully at their individual state rights, as the laws will let an employee know what rights they have at their job. Additionally, the laws of the state outline the procedures employees can use to protect these rights.

What is the Difference Between Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Tennessee?

Tennessee lets employers set the number of hours you have to work to be full-time or part-time. There are no full- or part-time laws that have a set number of hours listed. Instead, you should check with your HR department to see what your status is at your job.

What is the Minimum Wage in Tennessee?

Tennessee does not have its own minimum wage, so the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour applies. Tipped employees only receive $2.13 per hour as their minimum wage. If an employer fails to pay their employees the proper minimum wage amount, it could lead to a wage and hour lawsuit, also sometimes called wage and salary claims. These types of claims require the court to review the employee’s payments and determine a proper remedy, such as payment of back wages.

Are There Overtime Laws in Tennessee?

Instead of creating its own state law to determine how much employees should receive for overtime, Tennessee follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which states that employees are entitled to 1 and ½ times their standard pay per hour for any hours over 40 hours per week.

Employers in Tennessee can request as much overtime as they want from their employees because Tennessee has not placed any restrictions on overtime. Overtime violations can also lead to wage and hour claims in the same way as minimum wage violations.

Does Tennessee Require Employee Health Benefits?

Like most other states, Tennessee does not have its own laws regarding health benefits. Instead the state follows the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires any employer with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance. The health insurance must be offered to at least 95% of the employees who are full-time. However, if there are less than 50 employees at the company, it is up to the individual company to decide if they will offer health insurance.

You should be aware though that health insurance laws will probably change soon. Thus, it is very important to meet with a local lawyer to find out what, if any, changes may affect your insurance.

Are There Employment Discrimination Laws in Tennessee?

Federal and Tennessee state laws do not allow employers to discriminate against employees. In every state, employees cannot be discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or citizenship status. Tennessee also includes another protection that makes it illegal to discriminate against employees who need a guide dog in the workplace.

If you have been discriminated against by your employer, you can contact either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Tennessee Human Rights Commission about filing a complaint against your employer. There are several time limits you should be careful about and speak with a local lawyer to find out what they are.

Tennessee law forbids employers from retaliating against employees that file a complaint against them.

If you decide to sue your employer in state court over the violation, Tennessee limits the available remedy the amount of damages you can win for a discrimination lawsuit to only compensatory damages.

In other words, Tennessee does not allow employees to pursue punitive damages against their employer in a discrimination suit.  If you decide to file your case in a federal court, the maximum amount you may be able to get depends on the size of the company:

  • $50,000 if the company has between 15 and 100 employees;

  • $100,000 if the company has between 101 and 200 employees;

  • $200,000 if the company has between 201 and 500 employees; or

  • $300,000 if the company has more than 500 employees.

Is There Time Off for Employees in Tennessee?

Tennessee adheres the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which affects employees who work at companies with 50 or more employees and engage in interstate business. Under FMLA, you are allowed up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the right to return to your job after the period of leave, and all of your employer’s medical and health benefits while you are on leave. Along with the leave provided by the FMLA, Tennessee gives new parents and pregnant women 4 months of leave if they work for a company with at least 100 employees.

Tennessee does not require paid sick or vacation leave. It is up to each company to decide what it wants to do and notify its employees as to its decision. However, if a company does have paid vacation leave and you end your job with time left, Tennessee requires that the employer pay you for that leftover time.

Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?

Having a lawyer to represent you during your fight to enforce your rights is important. If you are worried about your employment rights, talk to a Tennessee employment lawyer today. An attorney in your area can assist you with legal advice and representation for your specific issues.