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Holiday Events and Tennessee Workers' Compensation

November 17, 2021
December 5, 2019

It’s that time again when many employers are sponsoring holiday festivities for employees.  But if an employee is injured during a holiday event, is he or she covered under Tennessee’s workers’ compensation law?

Tennessee Code Ann. §50-6-110(a)(6) addresses injuries incurred by employees in the course of recreational or social activities.  Specifically, the statute provides an affirmative defense for the employee’s voluntary participation in recreational, social, or athletic events, including parties, unless:

(A) Participation was expressly or impliedly required by the employer;

(B) Participation produced a direct benefit to the employer beyond improvement in employee health or morale;

(C) Participation was during employee’s work hours and was part of the employee’s work-related duties; or

(D) The injury occurred due to an unsafe condition during voluntary participation using facilities designated by, furnished by, or maintained by the employer on or off the employer’s premises and the employer had actual knowledge of the unsafe condition and failed to curtail the activity or program or cure the unsafe condition.

This affirmative defense is available to the employer even if the employer fully or partially funds the event and/or activity.