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Justice Served: Tennessee Woman Wins $687K in Vaccine Mandate Lawsuit

Payam Javan: Tanja Benton, a former biostatistical research scientist at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has emerged victorious in a legal battle against her former employer over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Benton, who was terminated in 2022 after requesting a waiver from the company’s vaccine requirement on religious grounds, argued that the vaccines were derived from aborted fetal cell lines, conflicting with her beliefs and conscience. Despite working remotely and not interacting with sick patients, her employer upheld a strict policy with no exceptions, leading Benton to file a lawsuit in federal court.

After a jury trial, the District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee ruled in Benton’s favor, awarding her $687,240 in total damages. This sum includes $177,240 for lost wages, $10,000 in compensatory damages, and a significant $500,000 in punitive damages. The verdict underscored Benton’s right to refuse vaccination based on sincerely-held religious beliefs, marking a significant legal precedent in the context of vaccine mandates and individual rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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