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Employment At-Will: Tennessee

Employment At-Will requirements for other states

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

Author: Christine P. Corrigan, CPC Writing Services


  • Under Tennessee law, in the absence of a written employment agreement, employment presumed to be at-will. See Employment At-Will Doctrine, Generally.
  • Tennessee law will enforce verbal contracts if the terms of the contract meet a certain evidentiary threshold. See Employment Contracts.
  • Similarly, the terms of employee handbooks or policy manuals can become part of an employment contract if the written terms contain specific details. See Employment Contracts.
  • Disclaimers contained in employee handbooks or policy manuals may prevent the handbooks or policy manuals from being used as evidence of a contract. See Employment Contracts.
  • Tennessee courts recognize public policy exceptions to the employment at-will doctrine, but require that the public policy consideration derive from specific sources. See Public Policy Exceptions.
  • Tennessee courts have declined to recognize the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing as it may apply to employment relationships. See Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.
  • Tennessee courts recognize other employment-related claims against employers, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and promissory estoppel. See Exceptions in Tort.