Tennessee Workplace Sexual Harassment

If you have been a victim of workplace sexual harassment in the state of Tennessee, you may be eligible to submit a claim for compensation against your employer who could be in violation of the law for failing to stop workplace harassment. When the term sexual harassment in the workplace is defined it is when an employee has been a victim of the following:

  • unwelcomed sexual advances;
  • requests for sexual favors; 
  • subject to physical or verbal abuse which is considered to be of a sexual nature.

It is violating state and federal law when someone is harassed in the workplace through the use of offensive comments which make reference to their gender in general. Both the victim of the workplace sexual harassment and the harasser could be either a man or a woman of the same sex.

What Tennessee State Laws Protect Against Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment may have violated the federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It is also covered by Tennessee’ own anti-discrimination state law which is the Tennessee Human Rights Act.

Victims of discrimination on the workplace, including victims of sexual harassment are protected by both state and federal legislation which is basically quite similar.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Under federal law, when referring to sexual harassment it may be any one or a combination of the following:

  • using offensive words that are sexual in nature;
  • subjecting the victim to visual, audio and /or written sexual material ;
  • subjecting the victim to crude, vulgar and sexist language;
  • making sexual advances;
  • demanding sexual favors;
  • any physical behavior that can be defined to be sexual in nature, including inappropriate or unsolicited touching, groping. This could extend to actions which may be potentially a criminal offense such as sexual assault and rape.

How is Sexual Harassment Covered by Law in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the state prohibits workplace sexual harassment and will investigate all complaints of workplace of sexual harassment which have taken place.

However, you are required to file a complaint with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) within 180 days of the alleged act of sexual harassment. If you file your complaint with the EEOC, you have 300 days from the date of the sexual harassment incident.

What Employers are Covered by Sexual Harassment Laws?

All employers are required by state and federal law to prevent an environment in which sexual harassment occurs at work. They must also respond to complaints of sexual harassment.

If an employer is alleged to have done nothing to prevent or stop sexual harassment at work and are the subject of an official inquiry, they are prohibited from any form of retaliation such as firing the complainant.

Employers of 15 or more employees are generally overseen by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). The THRC will investigate complaints of sexual harassment in workplaces of fewer than 15 employees, but will also investigate complaints within larger workplaces as they have a work-share arrangement with the EEOC.

Where to File a Workplace Sexual Harassment Claim in Tennessee?

If you are a victim of sexual harassment in Tennessee you may be eligible to file a claim of harassment through the federal agency which is the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) and through the state agency, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC). Which office you file your complaint with depends on the size of your workplace as has been mentioned above.

The Nashville Office of the THRC is as follows:

  • 312 Rosa L. Parks Ave
  • 23rd Floor
  • Nashville, TN 37243-1219
  • Toll Free: (800) 251-3589
  • Phone: (615) 741-5825
  • Fax/3rd Floor: (615) 253-1886
  • Fax/4th Floor: (615) 532-2197.

The two EEOC offices in Tennessee are in Memphis and Nashville:

EEOC's Memphis District Office

  • 1407 Union Avenue
  • Suite 521
  • Memphis, TN 38104
  • Phone: 1-800-669-4000
  • TTY: 1-800-669-6820

EEOC's Nashville Area Office

  • 220 Athens Way
  • Suite 350
  • Nashville, TN 37228
  • Phone: 1-800-669-4000
  • TTY: 1-800-669-6820

How Long Do I Have to File a Sexual Harassment Claim in Tennessee?

Under Tennessee state law you have 180 days to file a complaint of sexual harassment in the workplace. The federal statute of limitations is 300 days.

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