State Law > Tennessee > Tennessee Wage Payment Law

Tennessee Wage Payment Law

 

Tennessee' Law regarding wage payment is codified in Title 50, Chapters 2, Part 1 of the Tennessee Code Annotated.

  • 50-2-101. Prospective employee to be informed as to wages.
  • 50-2-102. Redemption of scrip.
  • 50-2-103. Payment of employees in private employments.
  • 50-2-104. Misrepresenting wages in new employment.
  • 50-2-105. Restrictions on assignment of income - Court orders.
  • 50-2-106. Company stores.
  • 50-2-107. Distribution of service charges or gratuities.

50-2-101. Prospective employee to be informed as to wages.

(a) As used in this section, "workshops and factories" includes the following: manufacturing, mills, mechanical, electrical, mercantile, art, and laundering establishments, printing, telegraph, and telephone offices, department stores, or any kind of an establishment wherein labor is employed or machinery is used; provided, that domestic service and agricultural pursuits are excluded.

(b) It is unlawful for any proprietor, foreman, owner or other person to employ, permit or suffer to work for hire, in, about, or in connection with any workshop or factory, as defined in subsection (a), any person whatsoever without first informing such employee of the amount of wages to be paid for such labor. Such amount agreed upon between employer and employee, or employee representative, shall constitute a basis for litigation in civil cases. This does not apply to farm labor. Nothing in this section shall apply to railroad companies engaged in interstate commerce and which are subject to the federal Railway Labor Act.

(c) The failure on the part of any proprietor, foreman, owner or other person in charge of any industry named in subsection (a) to so inform any employee of wages to be paid as provided herein is a Class C misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall be so construed as to preclude the employment of any person or persons on a "piece-work" basis or on commission basis.

50-2-102. Redemption of scrip.

(a) All persons, firms and corporations using coupons, scrip, punchouts, store orders or other evidences of indebtedness to pay their laborers and employees, for labor or otherwise, shall, if demanded, redeem the same in the hands of such laborer, employee or bona fide holder, in good and lawful money of the United States; provided, that the same is presented and redemption demanded of such person, firm or corporation issuing same, as aforementioned, at a regular pay day of such person, firm or corporation to laborers or employees; or, if presented and redemption demanded, as aforementioned, by such laborers, employees or bona fide holders at any time not less than thirty (30) days from the issuance or delivery of the coupon, or other such evidences of indebtedness to such employees, laborers or bona fide holder. Such redemption is to be at the face value of the coupon, or other such evidence of indebtedness; provided, that the face value shall be in cash the same as its purchasing power in goods, wares and merchandise at the commissary store or other repository of such company, firm, person or corporation aforementioned.

(b) Any such employee, laborer or bona fide holder, upon presentation and demand for redemption of the coupon, or other such evidence of indebtedness, and upon refusal of such person, firm or corporation to redeem the same in good and lawful money of the United States, may maintain in his own name an action before any court of competent jurisdiction against such person, firm or corporation, issuing same, as aforementioned, for the recovery of the value of such coupon, or other such evidence of indebtedness; and, if the plaintiff shall recover judgment in such case, it shall include a penalty of twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount due and a reasonable fee for the plaintiffs attorney for his services in the suit, all of which, as well as the costs, shall be taxed against the defendant.

(c) Nothing in this section is to be construed as to legalize the issuance or use of scrip.

50-2-103. Payment of employees in private employments.

(a) All wages or compensation of employees in private employments shall be due and payable as follows:

(1) All such wages or compensation earned and unpaid prior to the first day of any month shall be due and payable not later than the twentieth day of the month following the one in which such wages were earned;

(2) All wages or compensation earned and unpaid prior to the sixteenth day of any month shall be due and payable not later than the fifth day of the succeeding month; and

(3) For the purposes of this subsection, the final wages of an employee who quits or is discharged shall include any vacation pay or other compensatory time that is owed to the employee by virtue of company policy or labor agreement. This subdivision does not mandate employers to provide vacations, either paid or unpaid, nor does it require that employers establish written vacation pay policies.

(b) "Private employment," as used in subsection (a), means and includes all employments in concerns where five (5) or more employees are employed, except those under the direct management, supervision and control of the United States, of the state of Tennessee, any county, incorporated city or town, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision of the state, or any office or department of the state or general government.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the payment of wages at more frequent periods than semimonthly.

(d) Every employer shall establish and maintain regular pay days as herein provided, and shall post and maintain notices, printed or written in plain type or script, in at least two (2) conspicuous places where such notices can be seen by the employees as they go to and from work, setting forth the regular pay day as above prescribed. Each employee must have a thirty (30) minute unpaid rest break or meal period if scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutively, except in workplace environments that by their nature of business provide for ample opportunity to rest or take an appropriate break. Such break shall not be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work activity.

(e) The payment of wages or compensation of employees in the employments defined herein shall be made in lawful money of the United States or by a good and valid negotiable check or draft, payable, on presentation thereof, at some bank or
other established place of business, without discount, exchange or cost of collection, in lawful money of the United States, and not otherwise.

(f) In case an employee in any such employment shall be absent from the usual place of employment at the time such payment shall be due and payable as above provided, such employee shall be paid the wages or compensation within a reasonable time after making a demand therefor.

(g) Any employee who leaves or is discharged from employment shall be paid in full all wages or salary earned by such employee no later than the next regular pay day following the date of dismissal or voluntary leaving, or twenty-one (21) days following the date of discharge or voluntary leaving, whichever occurs last. No employer shall, by any means, secure an exemption from this section.

(h) A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500). Further, every employer, partnership or corporation willfully violating any provision contained in subsections (a)-(g) is subject to a civil penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) at the discretion of the commissioner, or the commissioner's designated representative. Each and every infraction constitutes a separate and distinct offense. If the commissioner, or the commissioner's designated representative determines that the violation was unintentional, there shall be a warning, in lieu of a penalty, on the first offense. On second or subsequent violations, the civil penalty is applicable. It shall be at the sole discretion of the commissioner to elect to proceed either civilly or criminally upon any violation of this part; however, the employer shall not be charged both civilly and criminally for the same violation.

(i) The department of labor and workforce development shall enforce the provisions of this section. Each employer, during normal business hours, shall make available to inspectors of the department specific wage and payroll records of its employees maintained on the premises that are pertinent to a written complaint. Records that are maintained off the premises or inaccessible shall be made available to the inspectors on a timely basis as agreed upon by the inspector and the employer.

50-2-104. Misrepresenting wages in new employment.

Any employer who misrepresents to any employee the amount of wages which such employee is to receive on entering into a new contract of employment commits a Class C misdemeanor. Further, any employer who misrepresents to any employee the amount of wages which such employee is to receive on entering into a new contract of employment shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) at the discretion of the commissioner, or the commissioner's designated representative. If the commissioner, or the commissioner's designated representative determines that the violation was unintentional, there shall be a warning, in lieu of a penalty, on the first offense. On second or subsequent violations, the civil penalty is applicable. It shall be at the sole discretion of the commissioner to elect to proceed either civilly or criminally upon any violation of this part, however, the employer shall not be charged both civilly and criminally for the same violation.

50-2-105. Restrictions on assignment of income - Court orders.

(a)

(1) No action shall be brought to charge any employer upon any assignment by any clerk, servant or employee of such employer to any person of any wages or salaries unearned at the time of such assignment, unless such assignment at the time of the execution thereof has been assented to in writing by such employer, or unless such assignment is to enforce support orders as provided in title 36, chapter 5, part 5.

(2) "Support," "order of support" or "child support" includes child support, and support for a spouse or ex-spouse if the obligor is legally responsible for the support of a child residing with the spouse or ex-spouse.

(b) Assignment of income by a court for child support shall be made according to the provisions of title 36, chapter 5. If an employer fails to comply with the order, a judgment may be entered against the employer in the same manner as set forth in Sec. 26-2-201.

(c) As used in this section:

(1) "Court" and "clerk" are defined as set out in Sec. 26-2-201; and

(2) "Employer" includes the state and any political subdivision thereof.

(d) An order for the assignment of income entered by a court under subsections (b) and (c) for child support entered before October 1, 1985, shall remain in full force and effect, and any new orders for assignment of income or for modification or termination of assignments of income shall be as provided in title 36, chapter 5.

50-2-106. Company stores.

(a) It is not lawful for any employer, or agent, clerk or superintendent of such employer, who owns or controls a store for the sale of general merchandise in connection with the employer's manufacturing or other business, to attempt to control the employer's employees or laborers in the purchase of goods and supplies at such store, by withholding the payment of wages longer than the usual time of payment, whereby the employee would be compelled to purchase supplies at the employer's store.

(b) No employee shall be required, as a condition of employment, to trade at a store specified by the employer.

(c) Any person violating the provisions of this section commits a Class C misdemeanor.

50-2-107. Distribution of service charges or gratuities.

(a)

(1) If a business, including a private club, lounge, bar or restaurant, includes on the bill presented to and paid by a customer, member or patron an automatic percentage or specific dollar amount denominated as a "service charge," "tip," "gratuity," or otherwise, which amount is customarily assumed to be intended for the employee or employees who have served the customer, member or patron, that amount shall be paid over to or distributed among the employee or employees who have rendered that service. Such payment shall be made at the close of business on the day the amount is received or at the time the employee is regularly paid, or, in the case of a bill for which credit is extended to a customer, member or patron, payment shall be made at the close of business on the day the amount is collected or on the first day the employee is regularly paid occurring after the amount is collected.

(2) Such payment shall not be reduced, docked or otherwise diminished to penalize an employee for any actions in connection with the employee's employment, if it is derived from a mandatory service charge or tip collected from customers, members or patrons.

(3) This section does not apply to bills for food or beverage served in a banquet, convention or meeting facility segregated from the public-at-large, except such facilities which are on the premises of a private club.

(b) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor. Each failure to pay an employee constitutes a separate offense.

40-35-111. Authorized terms of imprisonment and fines for felonies and misdemeanors.

(a) A sentence for a felony is a determinate sentence.

(b) The authorized terms of imprisonment and fines for felonies are:

(1) Class A felony, not less than fifteen (15) nor more than sixty (60) years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), unless otherwise provided by statute;

(2) Class B felony, not less than eight (8) nor more than thirty (30) years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), unless otherwise provided by statute;

(3) Class C felony, not less than three (3) years nor more than fifteen (15) years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000), unless otherwise provided by statute;

(4) Class D felony, not less than two (2) years nor more than twelve (12) years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000), unless otherwise provided by statute; and

(5) Class E felony, not less than one (1) year nor more than six (6) years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed three thousand dollars ($3,000), unless otherwise provided by statute.

(c) A sentence to pay a fine, when imposed on a corporation for an offense defined in title 39 or for any offense defined in any other title for which no special corporate fine is specified, is a sentence to pay an amount, not to exceed:

(1) Three hundred fifty thousand dollars ($350,000) for a Class A felony;

(2) Three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) for a Class B felony;

(3) Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) for a Class C felony;

(4) One hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($125,000) for a Class D felony; and

(5) Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for a Class E felony.

If a special fine for a corporation is expressly specified in the statute which defines an offense, the fine fixed shall be within the limits specified in the statute.
(d) A sentence for a misdemeanor is a determinate sentence.

(e) The authorized terms of imprisonment and fines for misdemeanors are:

(1) Class A misdemeanor, not greater than eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days or a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute;

(2) Class B misdemeanor, not greater than six (6) months or a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute; and

(3) Class C misdemeanor, not greater than thirty (30) days or a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.

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