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Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct: Tennessee

Employee Handbooks - Work Rules - Employee Conduct requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: James L. Holt, Jr., Jackson, Shields, Yeiser & Holt


  • Tennessee is an employment-at-will state, but recognizes exceptions where the employer's discharge violates a well defined and established public policy, such as retaliation for a workers' compensation claim. See At-Will Nature of Employment.
  • Tennessee law prohibits discharging an employee for off duty tobacco use. See Off-Duty Activities.
  • Employers must establish regular pay days, post them in two conspicuous places, and make payment of wages earned prior to the first day of the month by the 20th of the following month and make payment of wages earned by the 16th of the month by the 5th of the following month. See Wage Payment.
  • Tennessee law addresses leave of absence and job protection for jury duty, military service, and voting. See Military Service; Voting Rights; and Jury Duty.
  • Tennessee law requires employers of 100 or more employees to provide up to four months parental leave for childbirth, pregnancy, adoption, and infant nursing. See Parental Leave.
  • Tennessee law prohibits employers from wiretapping and electronic surveillance without the consent of at least one of the parties to the electronic communication. See Electronic Monitoring.
  • An employer has the authority to prohibit all weapons in the workplace, or an employer may allow concealed handguns while prohibiting other weapons. An employer may not terminate an employee who lawfully stores a gun in his or her car while parked in an employer parking area. . See Guns and Weapons in the Workplace.
  • Tennessee law prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, but provides certain specific exemptions. See Smoking.
  • Tennessee law does not prohibit private employers from adopting anti-nepotism policies, but Tennessee has a broad anti-nepotism law for public employers and employees. See Anti-Nepotism Laws.
  • Tennessee has a law addressing abusive workplace conduct. See Abusive Workplace Conduct.