800 BCBS Employees Will Lose Jobs If Lee Doesn’t Sign Medical Freedom Bill

Photo Credit: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

An email sent to Bill Lee from Representative Robin Smith remains unanswered as do the calls to Governor Lee’s office from The Tennessee Conservative.

Lee’s affinity for Corporatism may result in unemployment for those who have faithfully served Tennessee’s largest Health Insurance Company, BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) of Tennessee.

On October 3rd, Representative Robin Smith (R-Hixson) forwarded an email from a constituent and BCBS employee adding the note:


Please take a moment to read this email. Your signature today has meaning. Thank you. 

Robin T. Smith

Smith forwarded two emails to Lee from a constituent and BCBS employee, the last of which was originally sent on November 2nd.  The email outlines that, at this point (November 4th), it may be too late to save the jobs of BCBS employees who have not submitted to the vaccine mandate.

To: Greg Vital; Robin Smith; Jason Zachary

Subject: Re: October 27 Special Session

To all:  Thanks for all that you did to get legislation passed against the Covid-19 vaccine mandates.  I know it is on the governor’s desk to get signed, and I’m not sure he will, but BlueCross, my employer, is set to terminate more employees tomorrow (November 3rd) at 5:00 pm EST if proof of vaccination is not presented.  I am one of those employees set to be terminated unless the Governor signs the bill prior to 5:00 pm EST tomorrow.  I, and others in my situation, would appreciate any lobbying that can be done to urge the Governor to sign this legislation immediately.  I know it’s a long shot, but it’s not over til it’s over.

I am praying that the General Assembly can stop this nonsense immediately before more Tennesseans, including me, lose their jobs and livelihood.

The first email from the constituent and BCBS employee went out on October 21st, addressed to Representative Greg Vital, Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) and was later shared with Representatives Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) and Robin Smith:  

Mr. Vital, my name is **** and I work for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.  

I was recently told I had to be vaccinated in order to keep my job, even though I work 100% of the time at home and do not interface at all with others in person.  Everything I do for BCBST is done through remote access, phone or video-conference.  

****NOTE FROM THE TENNESSEE CONSERVATIVE – OSHA has an exemption for 100% Remote Employees, however, it appears that BCBS is not following OSHA rules in this case.****

Due to my deeply held religious beliefs I applied for a religious exemption and BCBST replied stating there was not enough evidence to accurately render a decision whether I should be granted an exemption or not, but they would “accommodate“ me with a 30 day extension until November 3rd.  

I believe Title VII of the CRA of 1964 states that an employer should reasonably consider the exemption unless undue hardship is placed on the company in so granting.  Granting me an exemption does not place BCBST in a position of undue hardship at all, especially since BCBST sent everyone home last year when the pandemic erupted.  We never missed a beat as a company and senior management acknowledged that fact repeatedly to our employees.  

Working from home worked seamlessly last year, but now all of a sudden, 800 of our employees now have to be vaccinated or be terminated. This is wrong on so many levels.  It’s not about the safety of our employees because if it was truly that, then the vaccine mandate would have been instituted for all 6,000 BCBST employees, not just a handful of us.  

For the 5,200 (roughly) remaining BCBST employees, they are allowed to visit our campus without vaccination and walk freely as long as they wear a mask.  Not only that, vaccination is not even required for visitors to the BCBST campus.  A mask is just fine.

BCBST fired 19 people 2 weeks ago for not being vaccinated. BCBST actually lost more than that because there were many other employees who retired on October 4 (the deadline for vaccination) or quit.  I am told we lost many nurses who just simply turned in resignations.  Only 19 made the news, but in fact, the number of employee casualties was more devastating than that.  

In 2 weeks, numerous more employees will be fired when November 3rd arrives and vaccinations are not complete for those who were only given an extension (accommodation).  I am one of those employees.  

17 years I’ve given to BCBST to help provide health insurance for fellow Tennesseans will be for nothing, and for someone who is about to turn 60 in December, my job choices to sustain my family are virtually nonexistent.  We’ve been blessed and we’ve worked hard to get where we are today, but this is about to upend my family.   I’ll probably have to sell my house, and one of our cars, and downsize to a smaller house. My wife has some minor health issues so she doesn’t work. I am the only source of income for us.

Please push and fight as hard as you can on this issue. If agreement can’t be reached on October 27, could the legislature petition AG Slatery to issue an injunction against the mandatory vaccines until the legislature has had adequate time to draft law regarding this issue?  

If nothing is done before November 3rd, BCBST will make the news yet again, and it won’t be good news.  Real people are hurting over all of this nonsense.  It needs to stop and it needs to stop immediately.  We do not need to kick the can down the road on this and allow more Tennesseans to suffer just because they’re exercising their constitutional rights.  Please hear our voices and act swiftly and accordingly.



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This morning, October 4th, 2021, The Tennessee Conservative reached out to Governor Lee’s office and asked about the status of Lee signing the Omnibus Medical Freedoms bill and whether his signing (the bill passing into law) would apply retroactively for Tennesseans who have already lost their jobs due to the vaccine mandate. 

We have not heard back from Lee’s office at the time of publication.  The Tennessee Conservative will post updates as they become available.

The omnibus bill hit Lee’s desk on Tuesday, October 2nd, and he has ten days (not counting Sundays) after a bill is presented to him to either approve or veto. If he chooses not to act on the bill, it will become law at the end of the ten days without his signature.

At last word, Lee has remained non-committal, stating that he is reviewing the legislation.


About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com

11 thoughts on “800 BCBS Employees Will Lose Jobs If Lee Doesn’t Sign Medical Freedom Bill

  • November 4, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    He needs to act or actions may remove him from office next election. This bill is common sense, vaccinated people can still get, transmit and die from covid so why should it be mandated?

    • November 5, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      I agree with you. The whole idea behind the mandate, the jab because “it isn’t really a vaccine to begin with”. Is to prevent the spread of covid which it doesn’t. It is still spread by the vaccinated, you can still catch covid even though you are vaccinated and it isn’t anymore deadly than the flu. So what is the sense in mandating something that does absolutely nothing? Wake up people they just want power and control over every aspect of our lives. Stand firm in your beliefs. Remember together we stand divided we fall as a nation.
      GOD bless America!

      • November 8, 2021 at 4:09 am

        Nobody is spreading COVID. It does not not exist. Sars Cov-19 has never been isolated, verified, or purified. Viruses are not a living thing. They have no nucleus or respiratory system. Biology101, Viruses are not alive outside of a cell and come from within, not from without. You cannot catch a virus other than through an injection.Covid does not exist! This the greatest deception of all of it!

        • November 10, 2021 at 8:30 pm

          You are absolutely correct Brian. If it can’t be isolated, we can’t create a cure for it. It is amazing how the sheep just followed along with this hoax. How many people have ever read the book “How do you kill 11 million people” by Andy Andrews. The answer is that you “lie to them”. Just like our government has done to us. I would highly recommend that everyone read this book.
          GOD bless America

    • November 7, 2021 at 12:37 am

      I agree 100%! We would not be in this shape if we didn’t have a dictatorship in the White House that stole the election in the first place. I am ashamed that BlueCross doesn’t care anymore than that for their employee’s livelihood. This is evil. I know people that have been there 45, 24, and 19 years as excellent employee’s, but there are things about the vaccine that they are afraid of. A single mom with a young child, a woman that has given all of her adult life to BlueCross, another that has 2 very small children that are going to be without insurance and she makes the most money in her household? What is wrong with you BlueCross? Does no one have any common sense anymore? What is wrong with you Bill Lee? Is everyone in TN afraid of BlueCross. Well, l am not. I hope they go bankrupt because that is what they deserve!

  • November 4, 2021 at 4:39 pm

    No way I will ever vote for him again. He should have settled this the day it hit his desk. A true Rino.

  • November 4, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    This bill singles out Medical Personnel and removes us from the exemption. This is discriminatory and unnecessary. We have worked all year on the front lines taking care of sick and dying patients. We wear more PPE than the private sector to stay safe. This is unreasonable and all based on reimbursements, always about the money. We have the same rights as all Tennessee Citizens. We need to be protected from this Federal Government over reach as well.

    • November 5, 2021 at 3:13 am

      Totally agree, if all of this is based on the unconstitutionality of it, then it should apply to ALL citizens.
      I think Florida’s plan protects healthcare workers, or at least I heard Gov. Ron Desantis speaking to this issue today in a press conference.

  • November 4, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    its amazing to me that all of these people who got the covid death shot are getting covid but the people with natural immunity dont get it since when is covid considered by osha as a work enviroment threat people covid is the same as the flu and i dont see osha doing it for the flu people it has been proven that this is not a vaccine but gene theropy I wonder hoe much govenor lee has invested in the drug companies and how much money he is making. They want this poison in everyone and its not about covid

  • November 4, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    Arva is correct. Our community and our medical practice will be drastically impacted because we will no longer be able to serve Medicare patients. Doctors who accept Medicare for their patients are considered federal contractors and all staff will be required to have the vaccination. We have 2 staff who have medical reasons for not taking the vaccine so we will no longer be able to provide service to Medicare patients. The legislature did not really provide medical freedom for Tennessee. They picked the easy route to look like they supported the state without having to really take a stand.

  • November 5, 2021 at 2:13 am

    Gov Lee,
    Protect medical freedom of ALL Tennesseans (medical personnel and everyone), otherwise you will see much needed medical people leave the medical field.
    You will see businesses in TN shut down as droves of people leave their jobs. Just look at all the people marching in NY, 26 NYC firehouses shut down. Do you want this in TN or will you protect our rights? Let’s keep TN a refuge of freedom. DeSantis is an excellent model of a governor fighting hard for his people.


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