I worked in Collierville, TN for an employer who, shall I say had no business owning a business. I was part time 3 to 4 days a week. Never called in and Never late. This was a small business, but I was hired on as a dispatcher for service work and other office responsibilities. This person forced me to work 9 hours a day for 8 hours pay. If i took a lunch i was to transfer office calls to my cell phone, answer the phone and take service calls while driving and on my Not Paid lunch. Then as time went on, I was then forced to run errands all over town, pulling permits with government offices, taking supplies to employees on job sites, pick up supplies, etc. In my car with no reimbursement along with the cell phone. When i tried to discuss this with the owner, I was cussed at and criticized. I tried to reason with this person over and over, until i couldn’t take it anymore. I gave a 1 week notice and had to quit. There was another part time girl in the office who was also treated the same way. But didn’t have it quite as bad because she only worked one or 2 days a week. She is a witness to this. Can I draw unemployment? Is this good cause?
Seriously, I don’t think you will be allowed benefits .. at least initially, but you might, maybe, possibly at hearing level if you have witnesses that your employer was doing or requiring something outside the realm of what Tennessee thinks is okay to do.
Frankly this is why I always talk about taking other possible actions to protect your rights while still employed .. Employee rights include being paid for the time you work and being allowed rest periods per a states labor laws. If you have the ability to prove the things you’ve done to preserve the employment for valid reasons then you bolster your credibility.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to win without doing all this .. just that it becomes more likely when you do.