Labor Laws

The Labor Standards Unit enforces six (6) labor laws (Child Labor Act, Wage Regulations Act, Prevailing Wage Act, Illegal Alien Act, Tennessee Lawful Employment Act, and the Non-Smoker Protection Act). Every year the unit conducts child-labor and non-smoker protection inspections, processes claims for unpaid wages, and performs on-site prevailing wage inspections on state-funded highway construction projects to ensure workers are correctly paid. The unit also receives complaints from local, state and federal agencies if there are allegations of unlawful hiring practices related to illegal aliens and whether workers are lawfully authorized to work.

Employee Rights

Employers may legally hire, fire, suspend or discipline any employee at any time and for any reason - good or bad - or for no reason at all; however, an employer may not discriminate against any employee on the basis of the employee's race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, or disability.

Child Labor

Almost all minors under the age of 18 are subject to Tennessee's child labor protections. This section gives rules on working hours, allowable jobs, and exceptions.

Wages & Breaks

The Wage Regulations Act protects wage earners from unfair practices regarding pay. This section answers frequently asked questions regarding the following: payday regulations, final paychecks, breaks and meal periods, paid vacations and holidays, and sexual discrimination.


Certain issues are not regulated by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In instances where the department does not have jurisdiction, referrals are commonly made to the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), Tennessee Human Rights Commission, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Employment Verification

All private employers with six or more employees must register and utilize E-Verify or request and maintain one of the listed identity/employment authorization documents from a newly hired employee or non-employee. 

TN Laws and Codes

This website is maintained by LexisNexis®, the publisher of the Tennessee Code annotated to provide free public access to the law.