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Scientist to receive $687,000 settlement after being fired for refusing COVID-19 vaccine
By Belle Carter // Jul 05, 2024

A scientist who was fired from her job at a health insurance provider because she did not submit to the company's Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate over religious grounds has been awarded almost $687,000 in a landmark settlement.

The federal jury has awarded Tanja Benton, 52, $177,240 in back pay, $10,000 in compensation and $500,000 in punitive damages, according to a document made public by the federal court in eastern Tennessee on June 30.

Benton had worked as a biostatistical research scientist for 16 years when she was terminated by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) in November 2022, at a time when many companies were mandating staff receive the vaccine to go back to work.

In August 2021, BCBST told her that she would need to be "fully vaccinated" to keep her position, according to her lawsuit. Benton refused because of the use of aborted fetal cell lines in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, and she could not "in good conscience consume the vaccine, which would not only defile her body but also anger and dishonor God."

The health insurance firm claimed that since her position involved "regular external public-facing interactions," she needed to take the vaccine. While Benton said her position became fully remote in 2020, the company said it would have involved some in-person interaction with clients.

She was then told to pursue other positions within the company and applied for two. But she was fired on Nov. 4, 2021, Five days later, she received an email which said that, "Unfortunately, all positions require the vax now."

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, presented with the case, cleared Benton to sue her former employer. She sued her former employer for violating the Tennessee Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination by employers at the state level.

Her lawsuit charged that BCBST violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says an employer may not "discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" because of that person's religion. Employers can disregard religious exemption requests if they can prove accommodating them would create an undue hardship.

BCBST was not able to "prove that allowing Plaintiff to continue her employment as a Bio Statistical Research Scientist without being vaccinated for COVID-19 constitutes an undue hardship," the suit stated. The company "also cannot show that it made any good-faith efforts to accommodate plaintiff's sincerely held religious beliefs."

Meanwhile, Dalya Qualls White, BCBST's chief communications officer told The Epoch Times in an email that they were 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," Qualls said.

City employee's COVID-19 vaccine mandate lawsuit moved to federal court

More than three years after the emergency use authorization was granted to Big Pharma and the federal authorities to administer the inadequately tested COVID-19 vaccines, employees who were fired for applying for religious exemptions to dodge the mandate are now winning lawsuits. (Related: Employers that mandated COVID-19 injections for workers can be held LIABLE for vaccine injuries, Australian court rules.)

In Encinitas, Southern California, a former city employee's lawsuit, claiming wrongful termination after the city refused to grant him a religious exemption, has been moved to federal court.

Former city environmental project manager Scott Vurbeff seeks damages and lawyer fees for numerous allegations, including religious discrimination and retaliation. Vurbeff was fired after more than 20 years of employment following the city's implementation of a policy requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Natalie Price, an attorney at Burke, Williamson and Sorenson law firm, filed a June 13 notice of removal on behalf of the city in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.

A city spokesperson declined to comment on the litigation. During an October 2021 interview regarding the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for another story, the city stated that "exemption requests are governed under state law and the city followed the state law," and "the city does not release the status of religious or medical exemption requests to protect employee privacy rights."

According to the complaint, Vurbeff worked as a city employee at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Dec. 11, 2020, Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was publicly available under emergency use authorization and by mid-2021, vaccination policies were being implemented nationwide.

In June 2021, Encinitas required all employees to show proof of vaccination or wear masks. Two days after the FDA approved the COVID-19 vaccine, City Manager Pamela Antil implemented an administrative policy on Aug. 25, 2021, establishing workplace protocols requiring all city employees to get vaccinated or present weekly negative tests.

Visit Pandemic.news for more stories about other public health mandates.

Watch the video below where podcaster Bret Weinstein spoke with military whistleblowers about the adverse costs of military vaccine mandates.

This video is from the TruthParadigm channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Connecticut claims religious exemptions to mandatory child vaccinations somehow pose a threat to public health.

Report finds U.S. military violated rules in handling COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemption requests.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoes bill protecting employees from bosses who refuse to grant COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemptions.

Canadian military officials hesitated to lift COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members because it would hurt their "credibility."

Sources include:


DocumentCloud.org [PDF]



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