December 09, 2009

Are the recent changes to Tennessee law requiring a sole proprietor to carry workers’ compensation insurance on himself constitutional?

Constitutionality of Mandatory Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage (TN Attorney General Opinion 09-184, December 9, 2009)

The Attorney General states that yes, the recent addition to the T.C.A. requiring a sole proprietor to carry workers' compensation insurance on himself is constitutional. He cites the legislative history of the statute, which shows that the statute was amended due to a need to ensure that all subcontractors and employees working on a construction site are covered by workers' compensation insurance because some employers were claiming that their employees or subcontractors were sole proprietors in order to avoid paying for coverage. Since the TN Workers' Compensation Act is meant to relieve society the burden of providing compensation to injured workers, the Attorney General believes that the requirement that a sole proprietor have insurance coverage is related to the purpose of the TWCA and, thus, is constitutional.

Opinion may be found at: