Job seekers in Tennessee are legally protected against many types of discrimination that could prevent them from gaining employment. These protections extend to current and former military members. However, job-related discrimination against veterans isn't always as obvious as refusing to rehire a veteran after they serve. It may also involve subtle actions, such as recruiters not considering equivalent military experience like driving complex military vehicles or serving in a leadership role in combat situations.
Media stories about grueling working conditions at Amazon distribution centers and warehouses in Tennessee and around the country have been a problem for the world's largest online retailer for many years. Allegations contained in a recently filed federal complaint say that the company has also discriminated against workers based on their race, religion or national origin.
In Tennessee and the rest of the U.S., employers are prohibited from misusing the genetic information of applicants and employees. Discrimination based on the genetic information of an employee or applicant is illegal, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces this prohibition.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases that may answer the question of whether or not LGBT workers are protected by Title VII. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers against discrimination based on sex. However, it is unclear whether that covers sexual orientation or those who are transgender. Some courts have granted that protection while others have not yet ruled.
Going to work in Tennessee can become difficult for people who experience discrimination and harassment on the job. New legislation proposed by Democratic Senator Patty Murray could improve workplace protections and promote policies to prevent the mistreatment of employees. According to the senator's summary of the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would need to develop prevention strategies and make specific recommendations for industries known to have harassment and discrimination problems.
Federal employees in Tennessee received some promising news about workplace discrimination when Attorney General William Barr agreed to address the concerns brought forward by DOJ Pride. The group promotes the needs of workers at the U.S. Department of Justice who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. In response to a letter from the group, Barr issued an order calling for an investigation of discrimination allegations at the FBI and Bureau of Prisons.
Tennessee members of the baby boom generation are maintaining their health and living longer than previous generations, but age discrimination could derail their career prospects. A survey from AARP found that two-thirds of workers between 45 and 74 had been the target of age discrimination or witnessed it.
The people who write the scripts for the television shows viewed by people in Tennessee are mostly invisible to the public. A survey of 282 working television writers conducted by the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity produced results that indicated widespread bias against writers who were women, nonbinary, LGBTQ, disabled or part of a racial minority. Bias, discrimination and harassment had touched the working lives of 64 percent of respondents.
Many older workers in Tennessee acknowledge the existence of age discrimination. Although proving that employers hold prejudices against older people presents challenges, a 54-year-old male employee of IKEA has gone forward with a lawsuit against the home furnishings company. His lawsuit cites federal age discrimination law, and he seeks relief for himself and a proposed class of older employees at the company.
Nursing mothers in Tennessee and across the country have protected rights on the job under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other laws. While one mother recently won a $1.5 million jury verdict after facing harassment over nursing that forced her to stop breastfeeding, other nursing mothers continue to face serious problems on the job. One report indicates that lactating women are often denied time to take pumping breaks. When they do get breaks to pump, they are often directed to inappropriate, public or unsanitary spaces. In other cases, these women may face sexual harassment or inappropriate comments from other co-workers.