Limitations: Statute does not state whether employers can elect to provide workers' compensation for farm workers. Compare Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-106(4) with id. § 50-6-106(1)(B), (5), (6) (2009).
Statute: Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-106(4) (2012)
Coverage for Undocumented Workers: Yes
Case Law: Minors are covered whether lawfully or unlawfully employed. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-102(10)(A). In an unreported opinion affirming the decision of the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel trial court, Silva v. Martin Lumber Co., 2003 WL 22496233, the Tenn. Supreme Court found that by presenting falsified documentation of employment eligibility, employee did not make a false representation as to his physical condition and there was no causal connection between this false representation and the injury to warrant denial of benefits.
Benefits Available for Undocumented Workers: Undocumented workers are eligible for "vocational disability" (similar to partial disability) benefits. Silva v. Martin Lumber Co., 2003 WL 22496233 (in unreported opinion, Tenn. Supreme Court affirmed an award of 36% vocational disability to undocumented worker's left hand).
Additional Information: The Tenn. Supreme Court has noted that, “The ordinary and usual meaning of the word ‘employee’ is one who is employed by another and works for wages or salary without regard to whether the employment be legal or illegal.” Am. Sur. Co. v. City of Clarksville, 204 Tenn. 67, 315 S.W.2d 509, 513 (Tenn.1958). Further, the Tennessee Supreme Court has recognized that “employment which has been obtained by the making of false statements whether by a minor or an adult, is still employment; that is, the technical illegality will not of itself destroy compensation coverage.” Fed. Copper & Aluminum Co. v.Dickey, 493 S.W.2d 463, 465 (Tenn.1973) (quoting 1A Larson's Workmen's Compensation Law, § 47.53, at 800).