Tennessee Whistleblower Protection Cases

Tennessee Whistleblower Protection Cases

The State of Tennessee recognizes a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine in tort.

Clanton v. Cain-Sloan Co., 677 S.W.2d 441 (Tenn. 1984).

Gager v. River Park Hospital, 2009 Tenn. App. LEXIS 43 (2009).

Yardley v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, 470 S.W.3d 800 (Tenn. 2015) (holding that a job applicant was not covered under the public policy exception).

Williams v. City of Burns, 465 S.W. 3d 96 (Tenn. 2015) (stating that whistleblower's are protected under the Tennessee Public Protection Act).

Tennessee has two distinct whistleblower statutes:

  1. Tenn. Code Section 50-1-304: Allows whistleblowers to bring "qui tam" actions against an employer that has defrauded the government; and
  2. Tenn. Code Section 50-3-409: Protects public and private employees from retaliation when speaking out about an occupational safety or health violation 

Tennessee also has a False Claims Act concerning fraud in government procurement and contracting.  False Claims Act claims are generally considered among the best whistleblower claims available.  We recommend determining if your case falls within this False Claims Act.

Tennessee False Claims Act.

Tennessee Medicaid False Claims Act.

The OIG of Health and Human Services review of the law.*
*Specific to Medicaid Fraud.


CAUTION:  Many States have enacted laws governing whistleblowing which, in some cases, abrogate an employee’s right to pursue common law remedies.  Before filing a state whistleblower lawsuit, it is imperative to determine whether you are covered under a state law and how that law may interact with the common law “public policy” exception.  Additionally, relevant state case law governing whistleblower protection is often subject to change.  We strongly recommend a careful review of current state case law prior to filing a state whistleblower lawsuit.  Please read our disclaimer.  If you are pursuing a case under state law, we urge you to consult with an attorney familiar with those laws.  If you are pursuing a claim under a state False Claims Act, and would like a consultation with the partners at Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto, please fill out our consultation form here.

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Updated as of July 2016.