Woman Fired from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee for Refusing COVID Shot Awarded $700k by Federal Jury

by J Pelkey
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A federal jury has ordered Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) to pay $700,000 to Tanya Benton, a former employee who was fired for refusing to be injected with the experimental COVID shot.

Benton, guided by her strong religious beliefs, refused the vaccine, citing objections to the use of cell lines from aborted fetuses in its development. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was partially developed using such cell lines.

Her request for religious accommodation to continue her remote work was denied by BCBST.

Instead, the company offered her a “Safe Harbor” period to find another role within the organization that was not subject to the vaccine mandate. Benton argues that this offer was insincere and unrealistic.

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In her complaint, Benton claims that BCBST violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Tennessee Human Rights Act by not accommodating her religious beliefs. She asserts that her termination was unjust and that the “Safe Harbor” period was merely a hollow gesture, as BCBST soon extended the vaccine mandate to all positions after her dismissal.

The Washington Examiner reported:

A federal jury found that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee improperly fired an employee for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine and awarded her nearly $700,000.

The federal jury in the case, which was litigated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, found that the insurance company owes the plaintiff, Tanja Benton, $687,240 in backpay and damages after she was let go in 2022.

The judgment order in the case said Benton “proved by a preponderance of the evidence that her refusal to receive the COVID vaccination was based upon a sincerely held religious belief.”

At the height of the pandemic and subsequent rollout of vaccines, both the government and federal companies struggled with how to handle workers who refused to be vaccinated for various reasons, chief among them being concerns about the long-term effects of the new inoculations and religious reasons.

Benton had worked at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee primarily as a biostatistical research scientist from 2005 through November 2022 before being let go for the refusal, according to WTVC.

The jury awarded total damages of 687,240 to Benton, including 177,240 in back pay damages, 10,000 in compensatory damages, and 500,000 in punitive damages.

This case establishes an important precedent.

Those who were wrongfully terminated for refusing the dangerous experimental COVID “vaccine” should be eligible for compensation. Moreover, such situations should never happen again.

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