Minors are exempt from Child Labor Law provisions if the child is employed as a musician or entertainer. For further information, contact the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Division of Labor Standards at (615) 741-2858.
This pertains to minors in entertainment
Contracting with performers under the age of 18 in the state of Tennessee generally requires the involvement of a Tennessee court.
Individuals under the age of 18 are usually considered minors and are not usually legally competent to enter into a contract. This “legal disability” of minors creates issues for film and recording companies that desire to employ individuals under the age of 18 as actors or recording artists. Unless a valid, enforceable contract exists, the terms under which a performer is engaged can be contested.
There is a relatively straight-forward process in Tennessee that will allow a minor to enter into a legally binding contract, based upon court approval.
The process in Tennessee requires that a petition be filed on behalf of the minor performer (or jointly on behalf of the minor and the film or recording company) in a chancery or circuit court in Tennessee for “removal of legal disability”. The minor must be a resident of Tennessee or a nonresident who has a property interest in the state of Tennessee (such as a contract under which the minor will receive money that is to be paid in Tennessee). In the typical circumstance, the petition requests that the court remove the legal disability sufficiently to allow the minor to enter into a legally enforceable contract, which contract (as signed by the parents and the minor) is usually attached to the petition. The judge of the chancery or circuit court will review the petition (with the attached contract) and then make a determination as to whether the contract is in the best interest of the minor. If the court finds that the contract is in the best interest of the minor, it will enter an order stating that the contract can be legally enforced.
If the minor performer is not a resident of Tennessee, the film or record company would usually be well advised to repeat the same court approval process in the state of the minor’s residence.
Practically, film and record companies should file a petition and the attached contract with the court in sufficient time to allow the court to enter an order removing the minor’s disability with respect to the contract prior to any actual performance under the contract by the minor or payment under the contract by the film or record company.