Labor Standards Unit

TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Labor Standards Unit of Workplace Regulations & Compliance Division

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 (TLEA), and the Non-Smoker Protection Act (NSPA):

What We Do
  • State inspectors conduct on-site inspections to verify that businesses follow child-labor laws, non-smoker laws, and whether workers are lawfully authorized to work.
  • The unit also investigates wage complaints from workers who allege they were not paid correctly by their employers.
  • Allegations of unlawful hiring practices related to illegal aliens are investigated and then referred to the appropriate federal agency if there is a violation.
  • Prevailing wages are set annually for workers involved in federal and state funded highway projects to guarantee that there is an approved minimum wage paid by construction companies for certain crafts.

Contact Us

(844) 224-5818
Labor Standards Unit

News and Announcements

 New Labor Standards Legislation – Effective May 11, 2017
 Public Chapter - Starting January 1, 2017

New Changes in Effect Beginning January 1, 2023
Amendments to the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act should be reviewed as they are effective January 1, 2023. View Explanation of 2023 TLEA Act.

Inside the Labor Standards Unit

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. The Child Labor Act prohibits the employment of minors in certain occupations and in working conditions that may be hazardous.

Wages & Breaks

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


Certain issues are not regulated by the TN 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, Tennessee Human Rights Commission, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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.

Prevailing Wage

The Prevailing Wage Act protects wage earners from unfair practices regarding pay on state-funded highway construction projects. It requires a survey to be conducted to determine wage rates for job classifications for such projects.

Prevailing Wage Commission

The Prevailing Wage Commission has the duty of determining the prevailing wage rate for state highway (i.e., highways, roads, and bridges) construction projects.

TN Laws and Codes

This link goes to the Tennessee Code Unannotated - Free Public Access website. This website is maintained by LexisNexis, the publisher of the Tennessee Code Annotated to provide free public access to the law.

Labor Standards Training Classes

Did you know we offer Labor Standards training classes? The Labor Standards Unit offers training classes to employers and members of management who are interested in learning about Tennessee’s labor laws. This is an excellent way for employers to gain knowledge on becoming (or continuing to be) compliant with the acts covered by the Labor Standards Unit, as well as become educated on ways to avoid costly penalties. Classes typically take about an hour to complete, and we offer in person and virtual classes to meet the needs of employers. If you would like to sign up for a class for your management team, please let us know!