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Practice Areas

A Law Firm for Employees

Our experienced Nashville employment lawyers are relentless advocates for workers who have endured workplace discrimination and retaliation. After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School, we worked at some of the largest law firms in the United States. Now, we exclusively represent employees in workplace disputes in court and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The skilled team at Rickard Masker, PLC has a proven track record of successfully fighting for wronged workers.

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, please contact one of our employment attorneys in Nashville, TN at the number above or online.

At-Will Employment in Tennessee

Do not be deterred by the so-called “at-will” employment doctrine. Although Tennessee is an at-will employment state (along with 48 other states), an employee cannot be fired for an unlawful reason. Dozens of unlawful reasons exist under federal and Tennessee law, some of which are detailed below.

For answers to frequently asked employment law questions, click here.

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination means you were fired in violation of a legal right. Dozens of unlawful reasons exist, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and breach of contract. This list of practice areas is a small subset of unlawful reasons for terminating an employee so you should speak with a skilled employment attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case. For an overview of the litigation process, see Stages of an Employment Lawsuit.

Our Nashville wrongful termination attorneys fight to achieve the best possible results for Tennessee workers. If you have endured workplace discrimination or harassment, contact our firm right away at the number above or online.

Race Discrimination

You deserve a fair and equal workplace free of race discrimination. Unlawful workplace discrimination happens all the time. Fortunately, the law is on your side. The law prohibits a company from making employment decisions because of an employee’s race or after the employee asserted his or her legal rights.

For example, an African American worker being called the “n-word” or “boy” may create legal liability for the employer, since companies are responsible for the actions of their managers, employees, and agents. If the discrimination and harassment is severe or pervasive, you may be experiencing a racially hostile work environment. Workers who suffer such discrimination and hostilities can seek monetary relief, such as back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.

Nashville-based race discrimination lawyers Curt Masker and Caraline Rickard have proven track records of successfully fighting for victims of unlawful workplace discrimination.

You can find many answers to commonly asked questions in our Workplace Discrimination FAQs.

Racially Hostile Work Environment

If you are experiencing severe or pervasive racial slurs such as the “n-word” or “boy,” you are likely a victim of a race-based hostile work environment. Curt Masker is a Nashville discrimination attorney who fights against racism in the workplace by holding employers accountable in a court of law.

A racially hostile work environment is prohibited by both Tennessee and federal employment law. Employees who suffer from such an abusive environment can seek monetary and equitable relief, including back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and reinstatement. For an in-depth discussion of damages in employment cases, see our article on the subject.

Workplace Retaliation

Sticking up for yourself takes courage. Retaliation is a very real concern for employees who want to do the right thing, but do not allow this perceived threat force you to accept substandard working conditions. Contact Nashville-based Retaliation Lawyer Curt Masker for an online case review.

Our highly skilled Nashville employment lawyers represent employees who have endured:

Retaliation for Opposing Discrimination or Harassment: Reporting alleged discrimination or harassment in the workplace, even if later proven to be legal, is protected activity under federal and state law.

Retaliation for Opposing Wage Violations: Most employees who work over 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime. Speaking out against unpaid overtime is protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Retaliation for Opposing or Refusing to Participate in Illegal Activities: You deserve to perform your job without being forced to engage in illegal or unsafe activities. If you speak out about or refuse to participate in such activities, you may be protected under the Tennessee Public Protection Act.

Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Free Speech: Citizens do not surrender their First Amendment rights by accepting public employment. The First Amendment protects speech on matters of public concern.

For answers to commonly asked retaliation questions, be sure to review our Unlawful Workplace Retaliation FAQs.

Sexual Harassment

Our team of dedicated employment lawyers in Nashville are relentless advocates for victims of workplace harassment. Enduring sexual harassment at work can be traumatic and devastating. You do not have to tolerate being objectified and humiliated at work for the sake of “not rocking the boat” or keeping your job. You need an experienced lawyer in your corner who you trust and who can take the fight to the company and the harasser. For answers to many common questions about sexual harassment, review our Workplace Sexual Harassment FAQs.

Sex Discrimination

If you have been treated unfavorably compared to coworkers of the opposite sex, you may be the victim of unlawful sex discrimination. Employees who face sex and gender discrimination may pursue legal action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Title VII covers employers with 15 or more employees whereas the THRA covers employers with 8 or more employees. Employers generally cannot use sex or gender as a motivating factor for an adverse employment action such as demotion, termination, or lay off.

Wage Discrimination

Federal and Tennessee laws require equal pay for equal work. Our Nashville workplace discrimination lawyers are committed to closing the gender pay gap in Tennessee one client at a time. Unequal pay claims are highly nuanced and speaking with an experienced employment attorney to review the specific circumstances of your situation is an essential first step.

Pregnancy Discrimination

Your pregnancy and related conditions are off limits to your employer when making decisions about your job. Still, pregnancy discrimination is a widespread problem in the United States. If you were fired or otherwise mistreated after your employer learned of your pregnancy, you may be the victim of unlawful sex-based discrimination under federal and state law. Employees who suffer pregnancy discrimination can seek monetary and equitable relief, including back pay, front pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.

LGBTQ Discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination occurs when an employee suffers an adverse employment action based on their status as lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, or pansexual. The discrimination encountered by transgender workers often has no connection to the employee’s sexual orientation, but rather is related to societal stereotypes of gender roles and norms. In both situations, employers are prohibited from basing employment decisions on your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Age Discrimination

You do not have to tolerate being fired or harassed on the basis of your age. If you are age 40 or older and have been fired or otherwise mistreated compared to younger coworkers, contact our age discrimination attorney serving Nashville for a free online case review.

Disability Discrimination

If you have a disability and are qualified to perform your job, federal and state laws protect you from workplace discrimination based on your disability. Do not let your employer’s discriminatory actions stop you from achieving your personal and professional goals. If you have been fired, demoted, or otherwise mistreated based on your actual or perceived disability, contact Rickard Masker, PLC today to discuss the specifics of your case.

National Origin Discrimination

National origin discrimination occurs when you are harassed, ridiculed, or otherwise discriminated against because of real or perceived traits of your race, ethnicity, or religious group, including physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics. For instance, it is unlawful discrimination for an employer to pay an employee less because of prejudicial stereotypes surrounding the employee’s ethnic background or because the employee has a dark complexion. Under federal law, discrimination based on accent can also constitute national origin discrimination.

Religious Discrimination

Our team of Nashville religious discrimination lawyers who fight for workers who have been discriminated against based on their religious beliefs or customs. If you have been treated differently by your employer based on sincerely held beliefs, you are likely the victim of unlawful religious discrimination.

FMLA Discrimination

Life is unpredictable and medical emergencies happen. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with job-protected leave so they can seek treatment or tend to a sick loved one without risking their job. If you have been discriminated against or denied rights or benefits related to FMLA, you may be entitled to compensation and/or reinstatement.

Under the law, an employee may take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, protected employment leave in a given 12-month period for any of the following reasons:

  • A serious health condition makes you unable to perform the functions of your job
  • Birth of a child and to bond with the newborn child within one year of birth
  • To care for and to bond with an adopted child within one year of placement
  • To care for your spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
  • Military leave exigencies such as changing child care arrangements, attending military ceremonies and events, spending time with a military member on Rest and Recuperation leave during deployment, etc.

Covered employers: The FMLA covers private employers with 50 or more employees. Public employers are covered under the law regardless of the number of employees.

Covered employees: For you to be covered by the FMLA, your employer must employ at least 50 employees at your worksite or at multiple locations located within 75 miles of your worksite. Also, you must have worked for your employer for 12 months (non-continuous) and worked at least 1,250 hours (about 24 hours per week, on average) within the preceding 12 months to be eligible for FMLA leave.

Employment Lawyer Curt Masker represents victims of FMLA discrimination for the following claims:

  • Interference – Employer tries to stop or discourage you from taking or trying to take FMLA leave
  • Retaliation – Employer fires or discriminates against you for exercising your FMLA rights

Curt Masker is a Nashville FMLA attorney dedicated to seeking maximum compensation possible for victims of FMLA leave discrimination.

Military Status Discrimination

USERRA provides robust employment and worker protections for our nation’s servicemembers who answer the call to serve. Under USERRA, civilian job rights and benefits for are protected under the “escalator principle,” which requires military members to be reemployed in the job they would have attained had they not been called to serve. In other words, if you would have been promoted but for your service, you are entitled to be reinstated to the promoted position upon your return. This includes the same seniority, status, and pay as well as other rights and benefits. In addition, an employer cannot retaliate against a servicemember for asserting his or her rights under USERRA. You need a labor lawyer serving Nashville on your side.

Likewise, Tennessee law protects members of the Tennessee National Guard who are called to serve, e.g., for drill weekends, annual training, and mobilization by the Governor during a state emergency.

Hostile Work Environment

A hostile work environment goes beyond rude or obnoxious behavior based on bad management or personality conflicts. The law prohibits a work environment that is riddled with severe or pervasive harassment that prevents you from performing your job or that has an adverse impact on your mental health.

Our Nashville hostile work environment attorneys can help you assert your legal rights against your employer.

Answers to many common questions can be found in our Hostile Work Environment FAQs.

FMLA Discrimination

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with job-protected leave so they can seek treatment, heal, or tend to a sick loved one without risking their livelihood. If you have been discriminated against or denied rights or benefits related to medical leave, your employment law rights may have been violated.

An experienced FMLA lawyer can seek the maximum compensation possible for employees who have been discriminated against after requesting or taking medical leave.

Military Status Discrimination

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is a federal law that protects civilian job rights and benefits for U.S. military members including Reserve components. USERRA provides robust employment and worker protections for our nation’s servicemembers who answer the call to serve.

Under USERRA, civilian job rights and benefits for are protected under the “escalator principle,” which requires military members to be reemployed in the job they would have attained had they not been called to serve. In other words, if you would have been promoted but for your service, you are entitled to be reinstated to the promoted position upon your return. This includes the same seniority, status, and pay as well as other rights and benefits. In addition, an employer cannot retaliate against a servicemember for asserting his or her rights under USERRA. You need a USERRA lawyer on your side.

Whistleblower Attorney

Doing what’s right takes courage. Retaliation is a very real concern for employees who wish to speak out against a company’s fraudulent medical billing practices. Do not be discouraged. In the United States, healthcare fraud and abuse costs taxpayers billions each year. Workers  are encouraged to stick up for taxpayers by opposing unlawful billing under the False Claims Act, a federal whistleblower law.

Qui Tam Actions Under the False Claims Act: Whistleblowers who expose fraud on the government can receive substantial compensation for their efforts.

Wage and Hour Violations

You deserve to be fully compensated under the law for your hard work. Unfortunately, some employers intentionally misclassify workers, refuse to pay overtime, and fail to pay employees for all time worked. If you believe your employer has engaged in wage theft, you need to fully understand your legal options.

Contact our unpaid overtime attorneys in Nashville for a free online case review.

EEOC Lawyer

Filing a complaint with the EEOC is a required first step for many discrimination and harassment claims in Tennessee. Our talented employment law attorneys file EEOC complaints for employees throughout the Volunteer State.

Keep in mind that your employer has a team of employment lawyers representing its interests at the EEOC to deny you your day in court. You need to protect yourself by hiring a skilled attorney to level the playing field.

Read the Top 5 Reasons to Have an Attorney File Your EEOC Complaint and Filing an EEOC Complaint in Tennessee.

Severance Agreements

A severance package usually refers to severance pay along with a severance agreement. A severance agreement is a contract between you and your employer that lays out the terms of your termination. Nearly all severance packages contemplate the same thing: In exchange for you releasing (aka waiving) your legal rights connected to the employment relationship, and making other binding promises, the company agrees to pay you exit money and benefits.

Our team of Nashville-based severance package lawyers can ensure your severance is fair based on the market, industry, and specific facts of your situation. If it’s not, then we can negotiate a better deal on your behalf.

Executive Severance Agreements

Executive wrongful termination can arise from many circumstances, including an employer’s breach of an employment contract, discrimination, retaliation, or violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing (e.g., termination shortly before a large bonus becomes due and payable). The stakes are high in these cases and you need experienced employment litigation counsel on your side from start to finish.

Executive Wrongful Termination

Executive wrongful termination can arise from many circumstances, including an employer’s breach of an employment contract, discrimination, retaliation, or violation of the duty of good faith and fair dealing ( e.g. , termination shortly before a large bonus becomes due and payable). The stakes are high in these cases and you need experienced employment litigation counsel on your side from start to finish.

Do You Have an Employment Law Case?

It’s time to fight back against unlawful employment practices.

Contact our skilled employment lawyers in Nashville for a free online case review at the number above or online.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Curt worked diligently and maintained excellent communication with my case. He made sure to keep us updated about any and everything. I highly recommend Rickard Masker, PLC. Would give more stars if possible. Jeffrey
★★★★★
Curt really came through for me when a previous employer had reported my job title and hire dates incorrectly, he got it corrected within 12 hours of speaking to him about it! I would recommend him for any of your legal needs as he is quite efficient! Renee
★★★★★
Curt was very responsive from the beginning. He made it a very easy process, and he provided excellent guidance in the review of my severance agreement. Due, in part, to Curt's thoughtful suggestions in regards to changing some key language in the agreement that would protect both me and my former employer, they agreed to the changes. To protect yourself during job transition, a review of a severance agreement is a smart thing to do, and Curt will do an excellent job on your behalf. Thomas
★★★★★
Curt handled a case for me and did an unbelievable job in getting a resolution and a great settlement. I would highly recommend him to anyone. Teena