Generally speaking, Tennessee is an employment-at-will state, meaning an employer can terminate you for any reason, or for no specific reason at all. This general rule is subject to several exceptions, including:
An employer may not terminate or discriminate against you based upon a characteristic that the law protects – these “protected characteristics” are race, gender, age, color, religion, disability, national origin and sexual orientation.
“My supervisor doesn’t like me, my supervisor is jealous of me, my supervisor is mad that I …, my supervisor plays favorites", etc. are not protected characteristics.
An employer may not terminate or retaliate against you for engaging in “protected conduct,” i.e. making a complaint about discriminatory behavior, or participating / assisting with an investigation.
An employer may not terminate you for reporting illegal activity. These are called “whistleblower” claims.
An employer may not terminate you because you reported a workplace injury, made a worker’s compensation claim, or took some other action protected by public policy
A chronology of events – the timeline of events can be very important in prosecuting employment cases. Make a detailed summary of events that occurred, and when each occurred.
Documents – documents can be critical to both evaluating a case and to the ultimate success of a case. Gather everything you can, including your employee handbook and policies, contract (if applicable), relevant emails and text messages, performance evaluations if you have them, and a list of potential witnesses.
If you feel you have a case for wrongful termination, call me at Sue Palmer & Associates, PLLC today to schedule a case consultation.