Search form

2016 Tennessee Legislative Update

  • May 26, 2016

In its latest session, the Tennessee Legislature passed four bills that affect Tennessee public and private employers’ workplace policies and procedures.

Public Employees’ Attorneys’ Fees

Beginning June 1, 2016, an amendment to the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA) allows public employees who win their cases when sued in their individual official capacities to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees. A plaintiff initiating a lawsuit under the GTLA often will name an official of the public entity involved in addition to the public entity. If the public employee successfully defends against the claim, a court may require the plaintiff to pay the individual public employee’s reasonable attorneys’ fees. This may deter some plaintiffs from naming individual public officials as defendants.

Workers’ Compensation

Effective July 1, 2016, an amendment decreases the period in which an employee must give notice of an accident to his or her employer from 30 days after the accident to 15 days after the accident. An employee who fails to provide timely notice is barred from receiving compensation.

Present law authorizes the workers’ compensation administrator to set education program requirements for drug-free workplaces by rules. The amendment prohibits the administrator from requiring, in the rules, an employer to provide annual education or awareness training for each employee if all existing employees have undergone the training at least once and have acknowledged annually in writing the existence of the employer’s drug-free workplace policy.

Garnishments

Effective September 1, 2016, provisions governing the garnishment of earnings are changed from garnishment of “salaries, wages or other compensation” to garnishment of “earnings” — increasing the amounts of income that may be reached for garnishment.

E-Verify

Effective January 1, 2017, an amendment to the Tennessee Lawful Employment Law Act (E-Verify Act) requires private employers with at least 50 employees to enroll in the E-Verify program and use the system to verify employment eligibility for newly hired workers. In addition, the amendment authorizes the Tennessee Department of Labor (TDOL) to pursue employers that knowingly violate the E-Verify Act.

Employers that knowingly fail to enroll in the E-Verify program will be subject to a $500 penalty. If the failure continues after receiving notice from the TDOL, an employer will be subject to an additional $500 penalty per day. The TDOL may conduct an investigation to determine compliance.

The current law will continue to apply to employers with at least six (but fewer than 50) employees. These employers may use E-Verify or request and maintain certain identification documents of newly hired workers.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to answer inquiries regarding these developments and assist employers in updating their policies and procedures.

©2016 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at www.jacksonlewis.com.

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

August 22, 2019

Illinois Expands State Human Rights Act to Include Employers with One or More Employees

August 22, 2019

An amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) expands the definition of “employer” from employers with at least 15 employees to those with one or more employees. The legislation, House Bill 252, was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on August 21, 2019, and enacted as Illinois Public Act 101-0430. The new law will become... Read More

August 13, 2019

New York Expands Harassment Laws, Protections of Religious Attire, Clothing, or Facial Hair

August 13, 2019

New York state has enacted sweeping new workplace harassment protections for employees, including lowering the standard for when harassment is actionable. It also has adopted new law prohibiting employment discrimination based on religious attire, clothing, or facial hair. Workplace Sexual Harassment On August 12, 2019, Governor... Read More

August 12, 2019

Illinois Enacts Workplace Harassment Law, Creating New and Expanded Obligations for Employers

August 12, 2019

Employers in Illinois will have new obligations related to employment contracts, training, and agency oversight under a wide-ranging bill signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker on August 9, 2019, that is intended to combat workplace harassment and provide greater protections for employees. Senate Bill 75 unanimously passed both houses of... Read More