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Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Tennessee

Does Tennessee have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?

Tennessee state law does not have overtime laws that are different from federal overtime law.

Does Tennessee have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

Tennessee does not have any laws establishing a state minimum wage. Therefore, the federal minimum wage applies, which is $7.25 per hour, or $2.13 per hour for tipped workers.

Do any cities or counties in Tennessee have a minimum wage that is different from state or federal law?

No. In 2013, Tennessee passed a law that stops any cities or counties in the state from passing their own minimum wage laws. Therefore, the federal minimum applies across the state.

Does Tennessee have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

Unlike federal law, Tennessee does require meal breaks. Every employee in a non-government business with five or more employees is entitled to a 30-minute unpaid rest break or meal break if scheduled to work six hours consecutively, unless the nature of the business provides for ample opportunity to rest or take an appropriate break (such as security guards). The break must happen after the first scheduled hour of work. Minors (under 18) must be provided this rest or meal break regardless of the nature of the business.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Tennessee?

If your employer owes you wages, you can file a claim with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Division of Labor Standards. The Division will attempt to assist you in resolving the issue with your employer; if they are unable to help, they will refer you to court. Contact the Division (information is included below) to file a wage claim. Because Tennessee does not regulate the minimum wage in the state, you may also file a claim under the FLSA.

What are my time deadlines?

Do not delay in contacting the Division of Labor Standards to file a claim. While there is no specific time deadline for filing a claim with the Division, there is a general statute of limitations of one year in Tennessee. However, as you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, but it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim with the Division.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Tennessee?

Instead of filing a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards, you may also be able to file a claim in state court. Tennessee’s Wage Regulation Act (which does not address minimum wage or overtime) provides a private right of action only in some cases involving violations of rules about tipped employees. You should consult with an attorney about this possibility.

State Labor Agency
Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-0655
Division of Labor Standards
Phone: (844) 224-5818

Terry A. Venneberg Weekly Weekly

Topic of the Week

Workplace Bullying


Blog of the Week

Overcoming Inequality in Unemployment Benefit Access and Utilization

Black workers are not only more likely to be unemployed during the pandemic but much less likely to receive UI. Law, policy, and practice may be the problems, but the solution begins with mobilization.

Thought for the Week

"It really is very damaging. It creates a place where you're just always afraid and you can't be yourself. People are angry and confused and they're concerned about their job all day every day—is today the day I'm going to be fired? That's just no way to live"

–Catherine Mattice Zundel | CEO of Civility Partners

List of the Week

from Workplace Bullying Institute

  • 19% of adults said they’d personally been bullied at work, while another 19% said they’d seen it happen to someone else.
  • Being bullied at work can harm both your mental and your physical health—with potential effects including major stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
  • Workplace bullying goes far beyond a minor disruption or small annoyance. Rather, it creates a psychological power imbalance between the person doing the bullying and their target or targets to a point where that person at the receiving end develops [a] feeling of helplessness.

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  4. Reddit announces permanent work from home, eliminates cost-of-living pay compensation
  5. Stuck-At-Home Moms: The Pandemic's Devastating Toll On Women