Tennessee News & Analysis

  • Tennessee court gives no quarter to fired undocumented immigrant

    Tennessee's workers' compensation statute allows injured workers to recoup benefits regardless of whether they are lawfully employed. In a recent case, a West Tennessee federal district court considered whether an undocumented immigrant could file a lawsuit against his former employer, whom he claims fired him in retaliation for pursuing workers' comp.

  • Tennessee federal court finds Title VII doesn't prohibit sexual orientation discrimination

    As we've discussed in previous articles, federal courts across the country are struggling with whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on someone's sexual orientation. An East Tennessee federal district court recently concluded that it doesn't. In the case before the court, a woman claimed she was fired in retaliation for complaining about workplace harassment she believes was attributable to the fact that she's a lesbian.

  • 6th Circuit allows jury to decide if full-time employment was an essential job function

    To be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee must be able to perform the essential functions of her job. In July, the 6th Circuit concluded that an employee may be able to perform the essential functions of her job even if she's incapable of returning to work full-time. As a result, it reinstated the claims of an employee suffering from postpartum depression and separation anxiety.

  • 'Fair-share' fee ruling brings new day for public employers, employees

    With proponents of a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the collection of "fair-share" fees claiming a victory for First Amendment rights and critics calling the ruling an example of the Court siding with billionaires against workers, employers are adjusting to a major change in the world of agency shops in the public sector.

  • The end of the Kennedy era

    For the past 20 years, Anthony Kennedy has decided the most important issues in America. An early protégé of Justice Antonin Scalia, Kennedy was appointed by Ronald Reagan as a conservative choice for the U.S. Supreme Court. At first, he voted with the conservative bloc more than 90 percent of the time and remained solidly conservative on criminal justice issues throughout his judicial tenure.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC reports on age discrimination 50 years after ADEA. Age discrimination remains too common and too accepted 50 years after the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) took effect, according to a report from Victoria A. Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report, released June 26, 2018, says only about three percent of those who have experienced age discrimination complained to their employer or a government agency. Studies find that more than three-fourths of older workers surveyed report their age is an obstacle to getting a job. The report includes recommendations on strategies to prevent age discrimination, such as including age in diversity and inclusion programs and having age-diverse hiring panels. The report says research shows that age diversity can improve organizational performance and lower employee turnover and that mixed-age work teams result in higher productivity for both older and younger workers.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds people of color less likely to get requested pay raises. Research from compensation data and software provider PayScale, Inc., shows that people of color were less likely than white men to have received a raise when they asked for one. The research, announced in June, found women of color were 19% less likely to have received a raise and men of color were 25% less likely. The research also notes that no single gender or racial/ethnic group was more likely to have asked for a raise than any other group. The most common justification for denying a raise was budgetary constraints (49%). Just 22% of employees who heard that rationale actually believed it. Of those who said they didnt ask for a raise, 30% reported their reason for not asking was that they received a raise before they felt the need to ask for one.

  • Hospital not liable for retaliatory discharge

    A recent decision by the Court of Appeals of Tennessee, in which the employer prevailed in a retaliatory discharge claim, demonstrates the importance of (1) maintaining confidentiality of workplace investigations and (2) keeping a cool head when dealing with an employee who is basically (or literally) asking to be fired.

  • New options for association health plans

    On June 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its highly anticipated final rule expanding the availability of association health plans (AHPs). This article provides a brief overview of this topic, which may be of interest to small employers in Tennessee.

  • High court upholds arbitration agreements that bar class actions

    In recent years, one of the most highly disputed issues in employment law circles was whether an employer could require employees to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit and instead submit employment-related disputes to binding arbitration. Such a requirement has become a common condition of employment contracts, typically entered into at the beginning of an employment relationship, and/or as a condition of continuing employment.