Tennessee is an At-Will Employment state. That means you can be fired for cause or no cause at any time.
Unless, when you started your employment, you entered into a Contract For Employment. In those few cases, you may not be able to be fired without compensation or sometimes, you can’t quit without owing your Employer money.
My advice to all those who enter into a Contract For Employment is to READ, READ, READ it and then let an attorney review that contract on your behalf.
While having a contract may seem like the way to go, most often the contract is prepared by the attorney for the Employer. This means it serves the Employer’s interest more than your own.
What you will find in most Employment Agreements is the Employer has included a Covenant Not-To-Compete. That means for a period of time you may not be able to work for anyone whose business “competes” with your Employer’s. Nor will you be able to start your own company that “competes” with your Employer.
Courts don’t like Covenants No-To-Compete. However, if you negotiated one and received some sort of compensation for entering into the Non-Compete, the Court will enforce the agreement if it finds it to be reasonable.
Meaning, you’ve still got to be able to eat. The Employer can’t restrict you to the point that it becomes completely unreasonable. And a Court of law can decide that for you should you need to quit and then are faced with being unable to work because of the Non-Compete.
Our office has represented both sides in these matters in Wilson County, Davidson County, Macon County and Smith County.
We represent quite a few Employers and have drafted both Employment Agreements and Covenants Not-To-Compete. We have also enforced these agreements by way of Restraining Orders when Employees have violated them.
At the same time, we have represented Employees against Employers whose Non-Competes are too restrictive and need to be set aside by the Court.
Entering into Contracts for Employment is never to be taken lightly. These contracts can both help you and later hinder you.