Fired? Exploring Wrongful Termination in Tennessee
After a job loss, you may be feel particularly overwhelmed, angry, and unsure of what to do next. Evaluating whether or not you have a wrongful termination case can be challenging, but it’s our goal to simplify the process and guide you through your next steps.
Like most states, Tennessee is an at-will employment state. This means that either you or your employer can end the employment arrangement at any time for any reason—almost. You can quit because you hate the work hours or because the uniform isn’t your favorite color. They can fire you because you drink coffee instead of tea or because, quite frankly, they just don’t like you. They cannot, however, fire you because you fit in one of the federally- and state-protected classes. This is what is considered wrongful termination.
Under the Tennessee Human Rights Act & Tennessee Disability Act, employers are strictly prohibited from making employment decisions based on a handful of protected classes. In addition to terminations, employment decisions can also include hiring, promotions, demotions, scheduling and job assignments, and much more. For all of these decisions, there are a handful of very specific reasons that they cannot use as the basis for their decision, and if they do, they’re breaking the wrongful termination law.
In Tennessee, as long as your employer (or prospective employer) has at least eight employees, they are prohibited from discriminating based upon:
- Age (40+),
- National Origins,
- Religion, and
In addition, for employers with at least 20 employees, the federal law also applies. Under federal law, employers also cannot discriminate against you based on two additional criteria:
- Citizenship status, and
- Genetic information.
If one of these protected categories was the reason for your termination, your employer broke the law, plain and simple.
Similarly, if you were fired after claiming that the employer violated your rights for one of these reasons (for example, if you complain that a demotion occurred because you are disabled), this may be retaliation which is also prohibited.
If this sounds similar to your experience, you may be wondering what to do next. It’s important to act quickly, as employment law claims are time-sensitive. We can help!
There are many nuances to employment law, and it can be difficult to know how your situation fits in with the latest court rulings and statutory changes. Let The Slaughter Law Firm help you evaluate your unique circumstances and decide on a plan of action. If you have been wrongfully terminated, you need a dedicated, experienced partner to stand up and fight for your rights. Give our office a call to schedule a no-risk consultation at 423-844-0560 today.