Wage and Hour Blog
Dolley Law LLC


Tennessee Wage and Hour Law

The attorneys with Dolley Law have traveled across the country representing clients in wage and hour matters. In doing so, we have developed detailed knowledge and expertise in disputes concerning minimum wage, overtime compensation, and wage payments. We can assist you in navigating federal or state requirements for any wage and hour matter. Please contact us today.

Tennessee Overtime Law

Tennessee has not enacted legislation regarding overtime requirements, so the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) provides the applicable law. 29 U.S.C. 207(a)(1). Non-exempt employees should be paid at one-and-one-half times their base hourly rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Id.

Tennessee offers additional protections to employees by requiring breaks. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-2-103(h)(1)(A). Employees in the private sector who work more than six consecutive hours must have the option to take a 30-minute unpaid meal break. Id. Employers of tipped employees who serve food and beverages to customers may be exempt via waiver from providing this break. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-2-103(h)(2)(A). The employee must voluntarily waive the break, and both employer and employee must consent to the waiver. Id.

Tennessee Minimum Wage Law

Tennessee does not have a law setting its own minimum wage rate so the FLSA provides the guiding standard. 29 U.S.C. § 206(a)(1)(C). Currently, the federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour. Id.

Potential Liabilities for Wage and Hour Violations

Because Tennessee does not have additional minimum wage or overtime laws beyond the FLSA, the damages that employers can be held liable for under wage and hour violations are generally those outlined in the FLSA. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Under the FLSA, employers violating minimum wage and overtime requirements may be held liable for unpaid wages, liquidated damages equal to the unpaid damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees. Id.

There may be additional liabilities imposed on the employer if they violate the requirement for meal breaks. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-2-103(i). Employers can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which could mean up to six months in jail or a maximum $500 fine. Id. Willful violations of the meal-break statute could mean penalties between $500-$1000. Id. It is up to the discretion of the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development to determine whether the employer will be held criminally or civilly liable, but employers cannot be held liable for both. Id.

Additionally, the statute of limitations on wage and hour claims under the FLSA is two years but can be extended to three if the employee can show a willful violation by the employer. 29 U.S.C. § 255(a).

These liabilities can be avoided with proactive effort and careful compliance with state and federal wage and hour laws, which is why it is important for both employers and employees to fully understand their legal rights and obligations.

Contact Us

Dolley Law represents clients in wage and hour cases in courts throughout the United States. We know the rules and requirements that apply to a wide variety of issues that arise under wage and hour laws. If you are in or around Nashville, Memphis or Shelby, Davidson, Knox, Hamilton, Rutherford, Williamson, Montgomery, Sumner, or Sullivan counties, feel free to contact our attorneys to learn more by telephone at 314-645-4100 or by email at kevin@dolleylaw.com.