Woman Wins $687K After Refusing Vaccine Mandate

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A Tennessee woman who was terminated from her job for refusing to comply with the company’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate has been awarded damages.

Fox News reported, “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 the settlement obtained by WTVC.

For a total of over $687,000, the jury awarded Benton more than $177,000 in back pay, $10,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.

According to reports, the plaintiff, Tanja Benton, was a dedicated employee at BlueCross BlueShield for over a decade. However, her refusal to adhere to the company’s COVID-19 vaccination policy led to her termination in 2021. Benton cited personal and religious beliefs as her reasons for declining the vaccine.

Benton, who worked at BCBST from 2005 through November 2022 primarily as a bio statistical research scientist, said in her lawsuit that her job did not include regular contact with people, WTVC reported. She said she only interacted with 10 to 12 clients each year and sometimes those occasional interactions were not in person.

Benton submitted a request for a religious exemption to BCBST’s vaccine mandate. But BCBST denied her request, saying she could not continue her job as a bio statistical research scientist.

She appealed, saying she did not interact with people during the course of her work day, and a company representative responded that “there are no exceptions” for anyone who has Benton’s job title, and suggested she apply for a different job.

BCBST ultimately fired Benton, and she filed the federal lawsuit.

The court’s decision aligns with broader concerns about the infringement of personal liberties in the name of public health. Many conservatives argue that such mandates are an overreach of governmental and corporate power, infringing on individual rights.

This case sets a precedent for similar legal battles across the country, where employees are challenging vaccine mandates on various grounds, including religious and medical exemptions.

This significant legal victory highlights the ongoing controversy surrounding vaccine mandates and individual rights.

 The ruling underscores the importance of respecting individual rights and beliefs in the workplace, especially in the context of unprecedented public health measures.The verdict marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over employer-mandated vaccinations and individual freedoms.

Benton’s case is not an isolated incident. Across the United States, numerous employees have faced termination for refusing to comply with vaccine mandates. These cases often raise complex legal questions about the extent of employer authority and the protection of individual freedoms. The ruling in Benton’s favor is likely to embolden other employees who believe their rights have been similarly violated.

The verdict also has significant implications for employers. Companies implementing vaccine mandates must now carefully consider the potential legal ramifications of their policies. This ruling serves as a reminder that while public health is paramount, it must be balanced against individual rights and freedoms.

Breitbart highlighted, “ Benton’s victory is a win for personal freedom and a cautionary tale for employers enforcing vaccine mandates without regard to individual rights.” This sentiment reflects the broader conservative perspective that values personal liberty and skepticism towards sweeping public health mandates.

The controversy surrounding COVID-19 vaccine mandates is emblematic of the broader cultural and political divide in the United States. On one side, proponents argue that vaccine mandates are necessary to protect public health and prevent the spread of the virus. On the other side, opponents contend that such mandates infringe upon personal freedoms and bodily autonomy.

 Benton’s legal triumph is likely to fuel further debate and litigation over vaccine mandates. It raises critical questions about the role of employers in enforcing public health measures and the extent to which individual rights should be protected in the workplace.

In conclusion, Tanja Benton’s victory represents a significant moment in the ongoing struggle between public health mandates and individual rights.

The $687,000 awarded to her underscores the importance of respecting personal and religious beliefs in the workplace. This case serves as a reminder to employers to carefully consider the legal and ethical implications of their health policies.

News 12’s Andy Santoro spoke with a vice president at Blue Cross Blue Shield to learn more about the decision to mandate the vaccine as one of the largest employers in the region.

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