The right to liberty and justice for all is a fundamental right for people in this country. However, when Maine employees report discrimination or unfair employment practices, laws fail to protect them from retaliation from an employer.

Corporations and businesses use arbitration clauses to keep their employees from accessing justice when employees have been wronged, often including barring employees from suing for earned overtime wages. These clauses often appear in documents that the average Mainer needs to sign in order to support their families, open savings accounts and access nursing homes. That does not seem like much of a choice to me — it seems like a scam.

It is rare that a day goes by where I do not hear about an instance or sexual harassment or discrimination that happens in my community. The survivors of domestic violence I work with have to just accept this triggering behavior at the workplace because they cannot risk losing their paychecks. That is not right, and it is failure to protect our American values.

A person’s right to access the justice system openly, without fear, is one of the cornerstones of this country’s founding. It takes immense bravery to file a complaint with the state, and often there is legitimate fear that a person could be fired. We should be supporting that willingness to take a stand, not discouraging it.

I hope that others can recognize the issue as fundamental to the pursuit of liberty and justice for all, not just some.

Annette Macaluso, Lewiston


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