Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Tennessee

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.