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The Tennessee Human Rights Act

The TennesseeFor those who have been the victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, the effects can be devastating. In addition to the psychological and emotional trauma they may sustain, those who report sexual harassment often experience retaliation in the form of:

  • Pay Reductions
  • Demotions
  • Termination

Under the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA), employment decisions that are made on the basis of a person’s gender are illegal. This form of discrimination also includes acts of sexual harassment. This act applies to both private and public companies with 8 or more employees.

The THRA is interpreted in much the same way as Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Tennessee Human Rights Commission, which administers the THRA, adheres to the federal legislation’s definition of sexual harassment, which defines it as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” that:

  • Are used as the basis for awarding or denying employment-related benefits or opportunities
  • Unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment
  • Are made a condition of employment

The Tennessee Human Rights Act vs. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

The THRA closely resembles Title VII. The THRA makes it illegal for an employer with 8 or more employees within the State of Tennessee to discriminate against anyone with regards to “compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment” on the basis of that individual’s “race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin.”

This is similar to Title VII, which makes it illegal for an employer with 15 or more employees to discriminate against anyone with regards to his or her “compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,” on the basis of that individual’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”.

The main differences between the THRA and Title VII are 1) the THRA covers public and private employers with 8 or more employees, while Title VII covers employers with 15 or more employees and 2) under THRA, it is also illegal to discriminate on the basis of creed and age.

Anyone who wants to file a claim under the THRA has 180 days from the discriminatory event to file a complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission and 1 year to file a lawsuit under the Act.

Contact An Experienced Tennessee Employment Law Attorney

Despite the fact that there are laws that prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace and provide procedures for seeking justice and financial compensation, the legal process can be very complex. Because of this, working with an experienced employment law attorney who can give you guidance throughout the process is extremely important.

A qualified and experienced Tennessee employment law attorney can assess your case to determine whether you are entitled to file a complaint or sexual harassment lawsuit against your employer and can handle the details for you.

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