The governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, signed three new employment laws, according to a release from the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP. The first law takes effect on January 1, 2015 and is a social media law. The second law takes effect on July 1, 2014 and is a negligent hiring and retention law. The third law takes effect on July 1, 2014 and limits liability and damages present under the statutory employment discrimination laws of the state.
The social media law is for employers who have one or more employees, including the state and its subdivisions, and any agents, designees or representatives of an employer. The new law prevents employers from requesting an employee or job applicant to disclose a password that permits access to their “personal internet account.” The law also prevents an employer from forcing an employee or job applicant to add the employer or agency to their list of contacts.
The law also states that the employer does not have a duty to search or monitor activity of a personal internet account of an employee or job candidate.
The negligent hiring and retention law encourages employers in the state to hire ex-convicts by protecting employers from negligence claims for hiring, licensing or retaining an ex-offender who received a “certificate of employability” (“Certificate”) so long as the employer knew about the certificate when the alleged negligence occurred.
The third law is actually amendments to limit liability and damages under Tennessee employment discrimination laws. These amendments put a cap on damages available in litigation related to employment and to limit liability in specific issues. The amendments put caps on damages available under the Human Rights Act of Tennessee, its Disability Act and the retaliatory discharge statue of the state.
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