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Tennessee: Woman receives nearly $700,000 after her company fired her for refusing to get COVID-19 vaccine

Scientist Tanja Benton was employed by BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee until November 2022. At that time, and citing religious beliefs, the woman refused to get vaccinated, causing the company to terminate her contract.

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A woman was awarded nearly $700,000 in Tennessee after being fired for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in November 2022.

Scientist Tanja Benton was working at BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee (BSBST) when it all happened. She, like the rest of the workers, received a notice requiring her to get vaccinated but refused to comply with the order claiming that her religious beliefs prevented her from doing so. That caused the company to decide to terminate her contract.

Nearly two years later, the court ruled in favor of Benton and said she was the victim of wrongful terminationDaily Mail reported that a federal jury stated that the plaintiff "proved by a preponderance of the evidence" that she had refused to vaccinate based on a "sincerely held religious belief."

That same jury ordered BSBST to pay a total of $687,000 to the scientist. The total comes from adding the $177,000 that the company had to give Benton for back payments as well as another $10,000 in compensatory damages and another $500,000 in punitive damages.

Benton won the lawsuit since she was able to prove that her refusal to get vaccinated did not harm anyone's health.

As she explained during the legal proceedings, she worked from home for a year and a half after the pandemic was declared and, more importantly, she did not routinely meet with clients. In fact, she explained, she only interacted with between 10 to 12 clients a year and many of those meetings were not even face-to-face.

Moreover, Benton said, she had no problems at the company until she refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She made the decision based on her religious beliefs since, according to her, injecting the vaccine "would not only defile her body but also anger and dishonor God" so she "cannot in good conscience" comply with BSBST's order.

However, the company decided to ignore her request and terminated Benton's contract.

The scientist decided to file a lawsuit against them and won. BCBST Senior Vice President and Director of Communications Dalya Qualls White told Fox News Digital the company is "disappointed by the decision."

"We believe our vaccine requirement was the best decision for our employees and members, and we believe our accommodation to the requirement complied with the law. We appreciate our former employees' service to our members and communities throughout their time with our company."Dalya Qualls White, senior vice president and chief communications officer, BSBST.

This is not the only lawsuit BSBST will have to face over decisions like this. ABC News 9 Channel reported that the company also has pending another legal proceeding filed by three other workers who were also fired after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.