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Fired BCBST employee awarded $680k in COVID-19 vaccine lawsuit

From Local 3 News: A federal jury in Tennessee awarded Tanja Benton, a former employee of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST), over $680,0

From Local 3 News: A federal jury in Tennessee awarded Tanja Benton, a former employee of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST), over $680,000 after the insurer did not accommodate her religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to documents obtained by Local 3 News.

 

Detailed list of damages = $687,240 in total

 

  • $177,240 in back pay damages
  • $10,000 in compensatory damages
  • $500,000 in punitive damages (separate verdict)

 

Additionally, a group of employees terminated by BCBST over a Title VII violation regarding religious discrimination are also currently in a class action suit against the employer.

 

Between October and November 2021, BCBST terminated 41 of their 900 customer service employees after enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and denying their religious exemptions.

 

The company also denied requests to work from home, an option already available for a year at the time.

 

The mass layoffs came weeks ahead of a Tennessee law that would prevent the company from carrying out the mandate.