Hundreds of new Tennessee laws went into effect on July 1, 2015. The following is a summary and link to several new laws which can affect Tennessee businesses. (All information in this post is taken from the Tennessee General Assembly’s website, www.wapp.capitol.tn.gov.)
SB 1058 – Wrongful discharge for firearms and ammunition.
Tennessee law allows handgun carriers with a valid permit to transport and store a firearm and/or ammunition in the carrier’s motor vehicle while on any public or private parking area under specified conditions.
SB 1058 prohibits an employer from terminating or taking any adverse employment action against an employee solely for transporting or storing a firearm and/or ammunition in the employer’s parking area in a manner permitted by the current law.
SB0 102 – Changes to Tennessee unemployment law.
Among other things, SB 0102:
- Modernizes communication related to unemployment claims by allowing notifications, notices, decisions, and correspondence to be sent by electronic means.
- Removes the Department of Labor’s authority to reconsider monetary and nonmonetary determinations related to unemployment benefits in the absence of an appeal.
- Clarifies that the Department of Labor may attach a claimant’s federal income tax return to recover fraudulently paid unemployment benefits to the extent authorized by federal law, including:
- A past-due debt for erroneous payment of unemployment benefits due to fraud or the employee’s failure to report earnings;
- Contributions due to the state unemployment fund for which the state has determined the employee is liable; and
- Any penalties and interest assessed on erroneous unemployment payments and unpaid contributions to the state unemployment fund
- Requires that employers with 10 or more employees file quarterly wage and premium reports that contain the name, social security number, and gross wages of each employee “electronically” rather than on “magnetic media” (effective January 1, 2016).
HB 0114 – SSNs on checks.
HB 0114 provides additional consumer protection against identity theft by prohibiting printing a person’s social security number on a check that must be presented in order for that person to receive money.
HB0114 adds to current consumer protection law which prohibits printing a person’s social security number on any card, identification, or badge that must be displayed or presented in order to receive a benefit, good, service, or other thing of value.
Exceptions to these prohibitions include:
- Disclosure of a SSN by an entity pursuant to a legitimate business or governmental purpose;
- The person gives written permission;
- Disclosure is authorized or required under state or federal law; or
- Disclosure is made to a consumer reporting agency or certain financial institutions.
SB 1017 – Charitable and non-charitable collections.
Among other things, HB 1085 requires a person (charities and non-charities) who places a collection receptacle in public view for the purpose of collecting donated clothing, household, or other items, to include signage on the receptacle as follows:
- If the person is a charitable organization, the signage must identify the charity, state the charity’s contact information, and state the charitable purpose for which the charitable organization exists;
- If the person is not a charitable organization and is collecting the items for resale for the purpose of retaining the proceeds of the sale of the items, the signage must identify the person, state the person’s contact information, and state that “THIS IS NOT A CHARITY. DONATIONS MADE HERE WILL BE SOLD BY A FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS AND ARE NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE.”; or
- If the person is not a charitable organization and is collecting items for the purpose of paying over all or a portion of the proceeds from such sale to a charitable organization, the signage must identify the person, state the person’s contact information, and state that “DONATIONS MADE HERE WILL BE SOLD BY A FOR-PROFIT BUSINESS, AND A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS WILL BE PAID TO [NAME OF CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION]. FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THESE PAYMENTS CAN BE OBTAINED FROM [NAME OF PERSON OPERATING BIN] AT [PHONE NUMBER AND ELECTRONIC MAIL ADDRESS] AND FROM [NAME OF CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION] AT [PHONE NUMBER AND ELECTRONIC MAIL ADDRESS].”
A violation of HB 1085 constitutes a solicitation of contributions by unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive means or manner, and may be investigated by the secretary of state. HB 1085 authorizes the secretary of state to impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each and any violation, subject to appeal through a contested case hearing.
HB 0796 – Sinkhole disclosure.
HB 0796 adds to the residential property seller’s disclosure requirements the existence or presence of any known sinkhole on the property prior to entering into a contract with a buyer. HB 0796 also amends the residential disclosure form to include sinkhole information.
SB 0463 – Amendments to statutes of limitations and statutes of repose.
SB 0463 extends the civil statute of limitations if a criminal prosecution is commenced for the same conduct which gave rise to the civil cause of action.
Currently, the following causes of action have a one-year statute of limitations:
- Libel, injuries to the person, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, breach of marriage promise;
- Civil actions for compensatory or punitive damages, or both, brought under the federal civil rights statutes; and
- Actions for statutory penalties.
SB 0463, extends the statute of limitations for these causes of action to two years after the cause of action accrues if:
- Criminal charges are brought against any person alleged to have caused or contributed to the injury;
- The conduct, transaction, or occurrence that gives rise to the cause of action for civil damages is the subject of a criminal prosecution commenced within one year by:
- A law enforcement officer;
- A district attorney general; or
- A grand jury; and
- The cause of action is brought by the person injured by the criminal conduct against the party prosecuted for such conduct.
These amendments are to be strictly construed.