Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 4: State Government

Chapter 21: Human Rights

Part 4: Employment-Related Discrimination

TCA 4-21-401: Employer practices.

(a)  It is a discriminatory practice for an employer to:

     (1)  Fail or refuse to hire or discharge any person or otherwise to discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of such individual's race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin; or

     (2)   Limit, segregate or classify an employee or applicants for employment in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect the status of an employee, because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.

(b)  This section does not apply to the employment of an individual by such individual's parent, spouse or child or to employment in the domestic service of the employer.

(c)  It is not a discriminatory practice for an employer to institute a policy in the employer's workplace requiring that all employees speak only in English at certain times when the employer has a legitimate business necessity for such a policy, including, but not limited to, the safe and efficient operation of the employer's business, and the employer provides notice to employees of the policy and the consequences of violating the policy.

(d)  (1)  No employer shall terminate an employee who is a volunteer rescue squad worker, as this term is defined in § 7-51-207, because the employee, when acting as a volunteer rescue squad worker, is absent or late to the employee's employment in order to respond to an emergency prior to the time the employee is to report to the employee's place of employment.

     (2)  An employer may charge against the employee's regular pay any time that an employee who is a volunteer rescue squad worker loses from employment because of the employee's response to an emergency.

     (3)  An employer has the right to request an employee who loses time from the employee's employment to respond to an emergency provide the employer with a written statement from the supervisor or acting supervisor of the volunteer rescue squad worker stating that the employee responded to an emergency and list the time and date of the emergency.

     (4)  Any employee who is absent or late to the employee's employment in order to respond to an emergency shall make a reasonable effort to notify the employee's employer that the employee may be absent or late.

     (5)  Any employee terminated in violation of this section may bring a civil action against the employee's employer. The employee may seek reinstatement to the employee's former position, payment of back wages, reinstatement of fringe benefits, and where seniority rights are granted, the reinstatement of seniority rights. The employee has one (1) year from the date of a violation of this section to file an action.

History: [Acts 1978, ch. 748, § 7; T.C.A., § 4-2105; Acts 1980, ch. 732, § 6; T.C.A., § 4-21-105; Acts 2010, ch. 1089, § 1.]