Tennessee News & Analysis

  • Court blows the whistle on Sevierville police officer's TPPA claims

    Under the Tennessee Public Protection Act (TPPA), also known as the "whistleblower statute," it is unlawful to fire an employee "solely for refusing to participate in, or for refusing to remain silent about, illegal activities." Tennessee recognizes a counterpart common-law whistleblower claim that requires employees to show only that whistleblowing was a "substantial factor" in the termination decision. However, government employees may not bring a common-law claim—they must file whistleblower claims under the TPPA. In January 2019, the Tennessee Court of Appeals considered a TPPA claim by a Sevierville police officer.

  • No disability bias after TN employee abandoned the interactive process

    The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Tennessee employers) recently held that an employee who voluntarily exited the interactive process initiated by her employer cannot establish a prima facie (minimally sufficient) case in a failure-to-accommodate claim, which inherently necessitates direct evidence.

  • Now's the time to consider marijuana policy

    State laws legalizing the use of marijuana—whether for medical or recreational use—have been a fast-moving target over the last several years. Currently, there are only 16 states in which marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes. And out of those 16, most allow products that contain small amounts of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

  • Do you have a ghost of a chance against ghosting?

    If you're like us (and Seth Meyers), you might have a hard time keeping up with all the latest slang terms having to do with new technologies and trends in social interactions and other aspects of modern life. One such term is "ghosting," which is when a person just stops responding to text messages, usually from someone they recently started dating. The term has slowly spread to other situations in which one person suddenly disappears from another person's life, including—you guessed it—when an employee or job applicant is a no-show with no communication or explanation to the employer.

  • Managing contagious diseases in the workplace

    We're in the middle of flu season. The flu and other communicable diseases present a number of challenges for employers. What's your duty to prevent the spread of contagious diseases in your workplace? Can you require an employee who may be contagious to stay home? How do you react to suspicions within the workforce that a coworker may have a communicable disease?

  • Workplace Trends

    Survey finds lack of understanding of when workers will retire. U.S. employers are rethinking their approach to managing the retirement patterns of their workforces, according to a study from Willis Towers Watson. The 2018 Longer Working Careers Survey found that 83% of employers have a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement, but just 53% expressed having a good understanding of when their employees will retire. Additionally, while 81% say managing the timing of their employees' retirements is an important business issue, just 25% do that effectively. The survey found that 80% of respondents view older employees as crucial to their success.

  • 6th Circuit credits documentation in age discrimination case

    As this recent case demonstrates, consistent documentation can be your saving grace in defending a wrongful termination lawsuit, while inconsistent enforcement of rules can be your downfall.

  • Surge in ICE enforcement is wake-up call for U.S. employers

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is targeting employers and has dramatically increased the number of worksite investigations, audits, and arrests it conducts. This article explores the trend, which should serve as a wake-up call for employers thinking about shoring up their immigration compliance process as a New Year's resolution.

  • D.C. Circuit 'refines' the NLRB's joint-employer test

    In a 2-1 decision issued late last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) determination that both an employer's reserved authority to control employees and its indirect control of employees can be relevant factors in the joint-employer analysis. However, the court reversed the Board's articulation and application of the indirect-control element of the test. This article explains the history and ramifications of the latest development surrounding the question of who is considered a joint employer.

  • Earning employee trust can reduce your legal liabilities

    "Trust" is a slippery concept. What does it mean for your employees to "trust" you or "distrust" you? And why should you care?