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EEO - Discrimination: Tennessee

EEO - Discrimination 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


  • The Tennessee Human Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, or national origin (including ancestry), and retaliation. The Tennessee Disability Act prohibits discrimination because of mental, physical or visual disability. See Discrimination Under Tennessee Law.
  • The Tennessee Human Rights Act generally covers employers with eight or more employees. See Coverage.
  • The bona fide occupational qualification defense is recognized under Tennessee law. See Bona Fide Occupational Qualification Defense.
  • The Tennessee Commission on Human Rights receives, investigates and handles claims of harassment. See Administrative Process and Judicial Proceedings.
  • Tennessee law also prohibits discrimination against employees engaged in the off-duty use of tobacco. See Discrimination Based on Off-Duty Activities.
  • Employers in Tennessee are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on union membership or lack thereof. See Free Association Protection.
  • Localities including Knoxville, Nashville and Davidson County, and Shelby County have requirements pertaining to discrimination. See Local Requirements.