What to do about employment discrimination

The Tennessee Human Rights Act offers broad protection from employment discrimination to workers at companies with eight or employees in the state. In cases of retaliation, the Human Rights Act applies to all employers regardless of size.

Unfortunately, many people who experience discrimination in the workplace do not know what steps they need to take to secure their rights. They may not even understand what constitutes employment discrimination.

What is discrimination?

Under the Tennessee Human Rights Act, employment discrimination is an adverse employer action based on your:

  • Age if you are over 40
  • Color
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Disability

A number of actions may be considered discrimination. Examples include unequal treatment in pay, benefits, discipline, termination, harassment, hiring, promotion, training and employee leave.

The differences between a legal employment action and discrimination can be subtle, and only an experienced employment lawyer can advise you if you have a potential claim against your employer.

What is retaliation?

Retaliation exists under the Tennessee Human Rights Act when an employer takes an adverse action against you for exercising your rights under the Act, such as reporting discrimination to your human resources department, EEOC or Tennessee Human Rights Commission,, or supporting another employee's claim of discrimination.

What should I do if I think I am a victim of discrimination?

An experienced employment law attorney can guide you through the steps you need to take to protect your rights, and whether it would be better to file a claim under state or federal law.

Federal law offers similar protections to the Tennessee Human Rights Act. However, filing a claim under Tennessee law can save significant time in the legal process. Federal law requires you to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before you can obtain the right to sue your employer. Under state law, you can sue your employer without first going through the EEOC.

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