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Tennessee Code/TITLE 50 EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE/CHAPTER 1 EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP AND PRACTICES/PART 3 WORKING CONDITIONS GENERALLY/50-1-304. Discharge for refusal to participate in or remain silent about illegal activities, or for legal use of agricultural product - Damages - Frivolous lawsuits.

50-1-304. Discharge for refusal to participate in or remain silent about illegal activities, or for legal use of agricultural product - Damages - Frivolous lawsuits.

(a)  No employee shall be discharged or terminated solely for refusing to participate in, or for refusing to remain silent about, illegal activities. 

(b)  In addition to all employees in private employment, the provisions of this section shall apply to all employees who receive compensation from the federal government for services performed for the federal government, notwithstanding that such persons are not full-time employees of the federal government. 

(c)  As used in this section, "illegal activities" means activities which are in violation of the criminal or civil code of this state or the United States or any regulation intended to protect the public health, safety or welfare. 

(d) (1)  Any employee terminated in violation of subsection (a) shall have a cause of action against the employer for retaliatory discharge and any other damages to which the employee may be entitled. 

(2) Any employee terminated in violation of subsection (a) solely for refusing to participate in, or for refusing to remain silent about, illegal activities who prevails in a cause of action against an employer for retaliatory discharge for such actions shall be entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs. 

(e) (1)  No employee shall be discharged or terminated solely for participating or engaging in the use of an agricultural product not regulated by the alcoholic beverage commission that is not otherwise proscribed by law, if such employee participates or engages in such use in a manner which complies with all applicable employer policies regarding such use during times at which such employee is working. 

(2) No employee shall be discharged or terminated solely for participating or engaging in the use of such product not regulated by the alcoholic beverage commission which is not otherwise proscribed by law if such employee participates or engages in such activity during times when such employee is not working. 

(f) (1)  This section shall not be used for frivolous lawsuits, and anyone trying to do so is subject to sanction as provided in subdivision (f)(2). 

(2) If any employee files a cause of action for retaliatory discharge for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause needless increase in costs to the employer, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the employee an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay the other party or parties the amount of reasonable expenses incurred, including reasonable attorney's fee. 

(g)  As used in this section: 

(1) "Employee" includes an employee of the state, or any municipality, county, department, board, commission, agency, instrumentality, political subdivision or any other entity thereof; and 

(2) "Employer" includes also the state, or any municipality, county, department, board, commission, agency, instrumentality, political subdivision or any other entity thereof. 

[Acts 1990, ch. 771, 1, 2; 1997, ch. 511, 1, 2; 2000, ch. 688, 1.]


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