• Tennessee Woman Awarded Almost $700,000 After Losing Her Job Over Mandated Covid-19 Shots 

    July 3, 2024
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    A Tennessee woman, who was fired from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) for refusing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees has received a settlement worth almost $700,000.

    A federal jury found that Tanja Benton "proved by a preponderance of the evidence" that her decision to refuse the vaccine was based on a "sincerely held religious belief," according to a court order

    The jury awarded Benton more than $177,000 in back pay, $10,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.

    Benton worked at BCBST from 2005 through November 2022 as a bio statistical research scientist. She interacted with 10 to 12 clients each year and sometimes those interactions were not in person, and never with patients. 

    Benton had worked from home for a year and a half during the Covid-19 pandemic. Then BCBST announced its vaccine requirements for their employees. Subsequently, she submitted her request for a religious exemption, but BCBST denied it, and tried to coerce her to take the vaccination in order to keep her job. BCBST told her there were no exemptions for anyone with her job title. In the end, Benton refused and was fired. 

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    Christine Dolan

    Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”
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