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September 2, 2015
The Tennessee Supreme Court has refused to allow a claim of failure to hire for a job applicant who had filed a workers' compensation claim against her previous employer. In Yardley v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, in a case of first impression, the Court noted that while some states have provisions for retaliatory failure to hire, Tennessee has no such provision under statute or common law. Tennessee is an at-will employment state, with an exception that employees cannot be fired for taking action encouraged by public policy, such as filing a workers' compensation claim. In those cases, the employee may have a retaliatory discharge claim. In this case, while Claimant was treating for her workers' compensation injury, the Plaintiff's hospital employer entered into a contract with Defendant to provide housekeeping services, and Defendant could use its discretion to hire the employees to continue in their positions. Defendant declined to hire Plaintiff. The Court noted that there was no employer-employee relationship between Plaintiff and Defendant, and it declined to extend the employment-at-will doctrine to create a failure to hire exception.
For more details on this case, click here.