BOMBSHELL: $700,000 Awarded in COVID Lawsuit

( – Former Tennessee BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) employee Tanja Benton has been awarded a bombshell $700,000 in backpay and damages after she refused to take the company’s mandated COVID-19 vaccine.

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee found last week that the insurance company owes Benton $687,240 after she was let go from her position as a biostatistical research scientist.

According to the judge’s filing, BCBS “did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence either that it had offered a reasonable accommodation to Plaintiff or that it could not reasonably accommodate the Plaintiff’s religious beliefs without undue hardship.”

Benton worked at the insurance company from 2005 until 2022, when it implemented the vaccine mandates during the pandemic.

As a former employee who had worked remotely without complaint for a year and a half, she detailed within her case that her position did not interact face-to-face with many people and that she only had a client list of 10 to 12 people each year.

Moreover, after the company mandated the vaccine, Benton filed a religious exemption which they denied.

She then filed an appeal but was reportedly told there were no exceptions for someone in her position. A company representative allegedly encouraged her to seek other jobs.

Benton was ultimately fired, leading her to file the case against the company.

Additionally, the insurance company said in a statement in response to the ruling:

“The vaccine requirement was the best decision for the health and safety of our employees and members – some of whom are the most vulnerable in the state – and our communities. We appreciate our former employees’ service to our members and communities throughout their time with BlueCross.”

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