Stephen T. Hyder, Attorney at Law

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(865) 724-2561
✔ 30+ Years of Experience
✔ 10+ Years of Direct EEOC Experience
✔ Multiple Reported Employment Discrimination Representations


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Helping You Fight Employment Discrimination in Maryville, TN

Under federal and Tennessee law, wrongful termination and discrimination in the workplace are illegal. If you feel you’ve been a victim of employment discrimination, call Stephen T. Hyder, Attorney at Law in Maryville, TN, immediately. With 40 years of experience, he’ll help you move forward with your case.

What Counts as Workplace Discrimination?

Employment discrimination under federal law includes any activity (including paying lower-than-normal wages) that disparages an employee because of their race, color, sex (including pregnancy), age, religion, or national origin. It is illegal for an employer to fire, harass, or retaliate against an employee for speaking out against any of these discriminatory acts. 

What Should I Do Before Filing?

Before pursuing employment law advice from Stephen T. Hyder, Attorney at Law, speak with the offending employee. They could be unaware that their behavior is discriminatory. If that doesn’t work, speak with your employer or HR. Then, if the discriminatory behavior doesn’t change, come to our Social Security Disability attorney for further assistance. 

Representation & Filing Assistance

After you’ve attempted to resolve the employment discrimination yourself, it’s time to pursue legal action. Our Social Security Disability attorneys will help you file an official complaint with the EEOC or Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC), provide legal advice, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Contact Our Social Security Disability Attorney Today

If you’re facing employment discrimination, workplace harassment, or wrongful termination at your job, contact Stephen T. Hyder, Attorney at Law, immediately. Workplace discrimination is intolerable and unacceptable on all fronts. Let our attorney assist you with accurate representation, building the right contacts, and advising today.

(865) 724-2561


Are you saying that nobody can sue their employer if they get fired?

No. The employment-at-will doctrine may still be the law, but over the many years of its existence, it has been eroded to a degree. It usually determines the outcome of a case where the only evidence presented was that the employer did not have a legitimate reason for the termination of the employee. However, in Tennessee and other States, some important statutory exceptions have been enacted into the statutes; for example, an employer cannot fire an employee because the employee refused to remain silent about, or refused to engage in, illegal activities. Under Federal law, it is unlawful to fire (or otherwise discriminate against) an employee because of race, color, sex (including pregnancy), age, religion, or national origin, or to retaliate against an employee who complains of such discrimination or to harass an employee for any of these reasons. It’s also against the law to pay unequal wages for equal work.

What if the employer gives a legitimate reason for firing me, but I feel that it was done because of the fact that, for example, I am a minority?

The cases are very rare in which an employer admits that an employee’s minority status was the reason it took the job action. This is referred to as “direct evidence”. Most of the time, the employer states as its reasons some apparently legitimate reason. It is the task of the employee to prove, usually by circumstantial evidence, that the reason is not legitimate.

How does one file a complaint of discrimination?

You may file an administrative complaint by contacting the Tennessee Human Rights Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Generally speaking, if you file a lawsuit in State Court, you must do so within a year of the date of the discrimination, and if you file in Federal Court, you must first file with the EEOC; that agency will issue you authorization to file the lawsuit.

What do you mean by “circumstantial evidence”?

Circumstantial evidence usually means, in unlawful or discriminatory termination cases, such facts as your minority status, that you were qualified for the job you held, that you were terminated, and that you were replaced by a person who was not a minority. Then, you would have to show that the employer’s reasons are not legitimate reasons.

What happens if I can prove all of this?

Generally speaking, the law gives you the right to take your employer to court and to request a jury trial. Successful plaintiffs may be entitled to back pay, reinstatement of employment with all job benefits, compensatory damages, interest, attorney fees, and even punitive damages in egregious cases.

How do you prove that the reason was not legitimate?

In general, you would have to prove that the reasons had no basis in fact, that the reasons did not truthfully motivate the termination, or that another employee (or other employees) not of your minority status engaged in “substantially identical” conduct as you did, but they were not fired or treated as you were treated.

What is retaliation?

Generally, retaliation is bad treatment or discrimination that is motivated by the fact that the employee engaged in acts that are protected by the law. For example, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee by firing the employee (or, for example, denying a promotion) because the employee made a complaint of discrimination.

What if I am being treated so badly at work that I just want to quit? Can I quit and still sue for discrimination?

Yes. The law makes it illegal for an employer to cause the working conditions of an employee to become so intolerable that the employee’s only option is to quit if the employer’s motive in its actions is the employee’s status as, for example, a male, a female, an African-American, someone who is over 40 years of age, a Seventh Day Adventist, or someone from another nation.

Is everyone protected by the law from employment discrimination?

Every person’s race, gender, age, religion, national origin, and disabled status and those whose status is that they complained of such discrimination, is protected by the law.

Do the laws of Tennessee prohibit employment discrimination?

Yes. In general, both the State and Federal laws are applied and interpreted similarly. The right exists to file a lawsuit in either State or Federal Court.

I feel like I am being unlawfully harassed at work, but I need my job and cannot afford to quit. If I complain about it, do I have to quit my job?

No. An employer has the legal obligation to investigate and remedy such complaints of harassment. But an employer is not obligated to investigate if it knows nothing about the problem. You should consider making a written complaint about the situation, and you should retain a copy of the complaint.