Justice Served: Fired Employee Wins HUGE After Vaccination Mandate Battle

In a recent case, former Tennessee BlueCross BlueShield employee Tanja Benton was awarded nearly $700,000 in backpay and damages by a grand jury after she refused to comply with the company’s mandated COVID-19 vaccine. The decision, made by a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was a result of the company’s failure to provide Benton with a reasonable accommodation for her religious beliefs.

Benton had worked at BlueCross BlueShield for over 15 years, but was let go from her position as a biostatistical research scientist after the company implemented a vaccine mandate during the pandemic.

Despite working remotely and having minimal face-to-face interactions with others in her job, BlueCross BlueShield denied Benton’s religious exemption for the vaccine. She then filed an appeal, but was met with the response that there were no exceptions for someone in her position, and was even encouraged to look for other jobs.

As a result of her termination, Benton took legal action against the insurance company. The judge’s filing stated that BlueCross BlueShield “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.” Therefore, the company was ordered to pay Benton $687,240 in backpay and damages.

BlueCross BlueShield released a statement in response to the ruling, stating that their vaccine requirement was necessary for the health and safety of their employees, members, and communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable. They also expressed appreciation for Benton’s service, but maintained that the vaccine mandate was a necessary decision.

This case reflects the ongoing debate surrounding vaccine mandates and individual rights. While BlueCross BlueShield argued that the mandate was necessary for the health and safety of their employees and members, Benton maintained that her religious beliefs should have been accommodated. The jury ultimately sided with Benton, finding that the company failed to provide a reasonable accommodation and that her termination was unjust.

This ruling may have broader implications for companies and organizations implementing vaccine mandates. The case also sets presidence for former employees across the nation who faced similar backlash for refusing the jab.

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