May 21, Letters to the Editor

Posted May 20, 2009, at 8:38 p.m.

Workplace stereotypes

While I applaud your assessment (“Caregiver Discrimination,” BDN editorial, May 20) that it’s time for workplace rules to change in order to meet the needs of today’s workers — workers who are increasingly caring for both children and adult family members — your assessment of the impact of the Family Caregiver Discrimination bill got it wrong.

While most people know you can’t be fired or refused a job simply for being pregnant, the same is not true if you already have kids.

In today’s day and age, workers with families shouldn’t fear discrimination simply because they have kids or other family members in need of care.

By prohibiting discrimination based on “family caregiver” status, LD 962 prevents employers from basing their decisions on stereotypes of how mothers and other caregivers will perform.

No part of the bill forbids an employer from taking action against an employee who fails to meet the responsibilities of their job.

In fact, the bill specifically states that nothing in this legislation requires an employer to accommodate caregivers on the job.

In the 21st century, employers have a responsibility to make employment decisions based on the actual performance of an employee — not outdated stereotypes.

This bill received a 9-4 bipartisan vote out of committee and a 100-40 vote in the House. The fact that it is earning opposition at this late date says more about the scare tactics of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce than it does about the actual directive of the bill.

Sarah Standiford

executive director

Maine Women’s Lobby

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Seat belt sense

I realize that the police have many laws to enforce, but it would seem that more focus could be directed to the wearing of seat belts.

When the seat belt law went into effect some months ago, a public effort was made to have drivers comply, but far too many people are still ignoring the law and their own safety. Perhaps they are not aware that seat belts are designed to work with air bags, and perhaps they don’t know that study after study confirms that seat belts save lives.

I can speak from experience. A decade ago, another driver ran a red light, crashed into my car and totaled it. Had I not been wearing my seat belt, he would also have totaled me.

Perhaps some people think that accidents happen to someone else. That’s what I thought too, but that changed in a split second. I also realized that, had I not been wearing a seat belt, there would never have been enough time to buckle it.

Finally, there may be those who equate not wearing seat belts with some kind of personal freedom; but the only freedom involved is the freedom to cause injury and even death for yourself as well as suffering and loss for your family — not to mention extensive hospital stays and staggering medical bills.

It’s the kind of choice that no one should have any trouble making — and it’s also the law.

Don Loprieno

Bristol

• • •

Seat belt sense

I realize that the police have many laws to enforce, but it would seem that more focus could be directed to the wearing of seat belts.

When the seat belt law went into effect some months ago, a public effort was made to have drivers comply, but far too many people are still ignoring the law and their own safety. Perhaps they are not aware that seat belts are designed to work with air bags, and perhaps they don’t know that study after study confirms that seat belts save lives.

I can speak from experience. A decade ago, another driver ran a red light, crashed into my car and totaled it. Had I not been wearing my seat belt, he would also have totaled me.

Perhaps some people think that accidents happen to someone else. That’s what I thought too, but that changed in a split second. I also realized that, had I not been wearing a seat belt, there would never have been enough time to buckle it.

Finally, there may be those who equate not wearing seat belts with some kind of personal freedom; but the only freedom involved is the freedom to cause injury and even death for yourself as well as suffering and loss for your family — not to mention extensive hospital stays and staggering medical bills.

It’s the kind of choice that no one should have any trouble making — and it’s also the law.

Don Loprieno

Bristol

• • •

Beautiful speech

I’m writing in response to Rosalie Johnson’s letter and her respect and admiration for Miss California, free speech and the media storm that has ensued. Let’s break it down.

First, there is no issue of free speech involved here. She was and is an employee of Mr. Trump’s pageant entities and, to my knowledge, the government has passed no laws curbing beauty contestant’s speech, no matter how much a hungry nation cries for it.

Second, and mainly, I am always amazed at people’s inability to see their own hypocrisy. “She simply stated her opinion” and then “She was ridiculed, maligned and called ugly names by” Perez Hilton. So she has the right to free speech, but the people who respond don’t? The fact that he asked the question “as a homosexual himself” probably gives him more of a reason to respond.

As long as Ms. Johnson’s views are expressed, that speech must be protected, but if you disagree, that speech must be stopped. Also, remember kids, when you start a statement with, “My feelings have nothing to do with hatred. I hate nobody,” then they usually have everything to do with hatred. Of course it goes without saying, I have no hatred of people who oppose gay marriage, although I do wish they would heed the 11th commandment, “Thou shall stop bothering people when it has nothing to do with you.”

Like I always say: “If you don’t like gay marriage, try not to marry someone of the same sex.”

Arthur Morison

Hancock

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