Retaliatory Discharge – Tennessee

In Haynes v. Formac Stables, Inc., (Tenn. 2015), the plaintiff brought suit against his employer after he was allegedly terminated as the result of complaining of illegal conduct on the part of the owner/employer.   The trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s retaliatory discharge claims because he failed to report the illegal activity to anyone other than the person who allegedly engaged in the activity; namely, the owner/employer.  The Court of appeals affirmed the dismissal. The Tennessee Supreme Court held that an employee must report an employer’s wrongdoing to someone other than the wrongdoer to qualify as a “whistleblower.”  In a situation where the wrongdoer is a manager, owner, or highest ranking officer within the company, the employee would need to report the employer’s wrongdoing to an outside entity.   As a result, the judgment dismissing the claim was affirmed.


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