Clarksville Office

Montgomery County Office

1989 Madison Street, Suite 253
Clarksville, Tennessee 37043

Phone: 931.451.8053

Toll Free: 800.705.2121

Fax: 615.353.0963

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    Practice Areas

    Workers' Comp

    Injured at work? Act now. Timing is crucial. Learn the 4 critical steps to getting your workers compensation benefits. When injured at work, immediately report the injury in writing to the employer. Many workers comp laws require injured workers to file the state's version of "First Report of Work Injury or Illness" as soon as possible after a workplace injury. Read More: Workers Comp


    Attorneys can help clients receive the payment they are owed from their employment. Settlements often include pay that was illegally withheld or underpaid (back pay), liquidated damages (double the amount owed), punitive damages for extreme misconduct (such as time shaving or off-the-clock work without pay) and attorney’s fees.

    Family Medical Leave

    If you work for a major Tennessee employer (50+ employees), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures you up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for a serious health condition. This same Tennessee maternity leave law prevents discrimination against women for being pregnant.

    Employment Retaliation

    Retaliation (also known as retaliatory discharge) is a form of workplace discrimination when an employer "gets back" by firing or disciplining an employee for being a law-abiding citizen. It is unlawful for a Tennessee employer to fire you for reporting illegal activity or for refusing to participate in these activities. 

    Get Help with Workplace
    Discrimination Problems

    National and Tennessee employment laws exist to protect employee dignity and to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination, especially when the cause of the inappropriate workplace conduct is the employee's protected status. Protected status covers most minority statuses, including national origin, race, religion, disability, sex or pregnancy. Under national and Tennessee workplace laws, employment decisions such promotion, termination or pay are required to be based on merit, not on one's protected status.

    Protected Status — What it means in Tennessee

    Illegal workplace discrimination practices come in many forms, but what most Tennesseans mean when they refer to workplace discrimination are those cases involving a protected status. Protected status means that you possess a characteristic protected by federal or Tennessee law. Typically, but not always, a protected status protects the worker in the minority. The main determination of discrimination in Tennessee court is whether an employee’s protected status was the reason a negative employment action was taken.

    Some legally protected statuses recognized by Tennessee courts are:

    • Age discrimination
    • Racial, nation of origin or religious discrimination
    • Sexual discrimination and harassment
    • Pregnancy or marital status
    • Disability or perceived disability
    • Active military or veteran status

    These protected statuses should not be a consideration in promotion, transfer or other employment practices. If they were in the case of yourself and coworkers of the same protected status, you may have a discrimination case in the State of Tennessee.

    Proving Protected Status Discrimination in Tennessee Court

    A number of federal and Tennessee laws protect employee rights against workplace harassment and discrimination. Despite these protections, discrimination still occurs with too frequently in Tennessee, but proving in court that an employee was terminated or suffered from discrimination because of his or her protected status requires significant evidence.

    While workplace discrimination does occur during the hiring process, most discrimination cases that a workplace attorney can pursue are those dealing with pay and other policies that have a material effect (loss of wages, denial of promotion, etc.) on a Tennessee employee of protected status.

    Unintentional Discrimination is Still Discrimination

    Not all workplace discrimination takes on the meanness or severity of harassment. While the idea of dirty jokes or outright bigotry is commonly associated with workplace discrimination, other employment discrimination cases exist where protected status discrimination was considered unintentional.

    Sometimes pay practices and incentives have unintended consequences that place someone of a protected status at a disadvantage. In a famous age discrimination class action, it was found a city police force was discriminating against its officers protected under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) because the city paid bonuses to officers with fewer years of service as an incentive to attract and keep new officers. But this had the unintended consequence of putting its older, protected officers at an economic disadvantage which the Supreme Court recognized and awarded pay compensations.

    While some employment policies bear no malice, they can have the unintended effect of privileging one group over another for reasons other than work performance.

    Reporting Illegal Workplace Discrimination

    It is illegal for a Tennessee employer to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including:

    • transfer, assignment, promotion or compensation
    • individual termination or group layoff
    • use of company facilities
    • retirement plans
    • disability leave
    • other terms and conditions of employment 

    In Tennessee, your employer may not take any form of retaliatory action if you seek legal counsel with a qualified workplace attorney to report discrimination at your workplace.

    Legal Help for Discriminated Tennessee Employees

    The Higgins Employment Law Firm can help you receive restitution from your employer. This may include back pay, compensatory damages (including “front pay,” or the money you would have earned if you stayed employed), reinstatement, promotion and/or accommodations.

    For a free evaluation or to speak with a Tennessee employment lawyer about your workplace discrimination claim, contact Jim Higgins.