Labor Standards Unit

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.  

News and Announcements

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

New Changes in Effect Beginning January 1, 2017
Amendments to the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act should be reviewed as they are effective January 1, 2017. Additional information is available for your convenience.

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. 

Prevailing Wage

The Prevailing Wage Act (Title 12-4-401 (Part 4)) protects wage earners from unfair practices regarding pay on state-funded highway construction projects.

Prevailing Wage Commission

The Prevailing Wage Commission provides a service to both the citizens and businesses of the State of Tennessee. The 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 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!