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Tennessee Expands Anti-Bullying Law to Private Employers

MSK Client Alert
May 20, 2019

On April 23, 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill into law extending the Healthy Workplaces Act, Tennessee’s workplace bullying prevention law, to private employers. The law went into effect immediately upon signing. Tennessee’s anti-bullying law encourages employers to adopt policies to address and prevent “abusive conduct” in the workplace. The law defines “abusive conduct” as “acts or omissions that would cause a reasonable person, based on the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct, to believe that an employee was subject to an abusive work environment.”

The law provides for the creation of a model policy for employers to adopt (see Model Abusive Conduct Prevention Policy). Although employers are not required to adopt the model policy (or any policy at all), those who do adopt it (or a policy conforming to its requirements) will receive immunity under state law for any abusive conduct committed by an employee which results in a claim for negligent or intentional infliction of mental anguish...

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