Chattanooga Woman Denied Religious Exemption And Fired Sues BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

Image Credit: BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

A Bio Statistical Research Scientist who worked for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST) for more than 16 years is suing the company after her religious exemption to getting a COVID-19 vaccine was denied and she was subsequently fired.

According to the lawsuit, Tanja Benton’s job “rarely involved direct interaction with clients” with only 1% of her total annual working hours, approximately 25 hours, involving client interaction. Her direct dealings with her 10 – 12 clients consisted of annual meetings of no more than 2 hours, except for 1 client who met with her quarterly for around an hour at a time. Sometimes years went by between meetings for some of her clients.

Throughout her time with BCBST, Benton never worked, or had meetings, in medical facilities where patients were being treated and even before COVID-19, face to face interaction with co-workers was never required.

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Starting in March 2020, Benton’s job became fully remote and she performed all of her duties without complaints from either supervisors or clients.

In August, BCBST informed her that her continued employment depended on her receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Benton’s religious beliefs made that requirement untenable. It is Benton’s belief that because “all COVID-19 vaccines are derived from aborted fetal cell lines,” to take a vaccine for COVID-19 would go against her conscience, defile her body and anger God.


According to the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is produced by using an adenovirus that is grown using retinal cells that trace back to a baby that was aborted in 1985. Other live virus vaccines on the childhood schedule use a similar process.

Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines do not contain fetal cells but used a fetal cell line for testing, something that staunch pro-life Christians still find unacceptable.

Benton’s request for a religious exemption that she submitted in September was denied. When she appealed, pointing out that she did not interact with people during the course of her everyday work, she was told “there are no exceptions.” Two months later, Benton was fired along with 18 other employees.

Having “suffered both financially and emotionally,” Benton is seeking back pay, all benefits that she lost and for BCBST to give her back her old job back.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

2 thoughts on “Chattanooga Woman Denied Religious Exemption And Fired Sues BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

  • May 25, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    Hope she wins a fortune. The proper thing to do is if she wins, take the money from the salary’s of the ones who fired her or allowed it to happen. As long as there is insurance to cover lawsuits, the high mucky-mucky mucks lose nothing. Stop allowing these schmucks to get by because in the end the patient pays.

  • May 27, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    Once again the “one size fits all” propaganda is being pushed by a big corporation. When is BC/BS gonna learn to stop messing with peoples lives? I find it so upsetting that they can not figure out that people will not be slaves to their employers when it comes to their health or religious beliefs. I hope she wins. I hope that more companies get sued over this type of nonsense. Maybe the woke will figure out that they are going broke because people are tired of someone telling them what to do.


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