Tennessee Woman Wins $700K Settlement After Job Loss Over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate


A woman from Tennessee who was fired from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine that the company required for workers has been given a settlement worth almost $700,000.

Tanna Benton “proved by a preponderance of the evidence” that her refusal to get the vaccine was based on a “sincerely held religious belief,” according to the settlement that WTVC received.

Over $687,000 was given to Benton by the jury: more than $177,000 in back pay, $10,000 in compensatory damages, and $500,000 in punitive damages.

Benton mostly worked as a biostatistical research scientist at BCBST from 2005 to November 2022. In her lawsuit, she said that her job did not involve regular touch with people, according to WTVC. She said that she only talked to 10 to 12 people a year and that sometimes they weren’t even in the same room.

As part of the case, it was also said that Benton never worked with patients.

Benton said she worked from home for a year and a half during the pandemic and wasn’t unhappy until BCBST told its employees they had to get a vaccine.

She refused to get the vaccine because, according to her lawsuit, she “firmly believes, based upon personal research, that all COVID-19 vaccines are derived from aborted fetus cell lines.” Benton said she “cannot in good conscience” get the shot because it “would not only defile her body but also anger and dishonor God.”

After BCBST said that everyone had to get a vaccine, Benton asked for a religious exemption, but the company said no and told her she could lose her job if she didn’t follow through.

When Benton made her case, she said she didn’t deal with people at work but was told there are no exceptions for people with her job title. According to the claim, she was also told to start looking for another job.

Benton was fired by BCBST, which is what made her file the federal case.

“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,” BCBST said earlier on WTVC. “We appreciate our former employees’ service to our members and communities throughout their time with BlueCross.”

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