Workers' Compensation

Tennessee: Limitation on PPD Benefits for Undocumented Workers Found Unconstitutional

Where a Tennessee injured employee is unable to return to work because of his or her undocumented status, Tenn. Code Ann. § 50–6–241(e)(2) limits the employee’s PPD award to one and one-half times the medical impairment rating, rather than an amount that can be as high as six times the impairment rating if the employee has not had a meaningful return to employment. Affirming a decision of a state trial court, the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court of Tennessee held the limitation affecting undocumented employees is unconstitutional. Through its enactment of the limiting statute, the General Assembly established “what amounts to a state immigration policy,” a field over which the federal government reserved sole power.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Martinez v. Lawhon, 2016 Tenn. LEXIS 840 (Nov. 21, 2016)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 66.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law