Herman Cain, the former pizza company executive leading national and state polls for the Republican presidential nomination, finally acknowledged reports Monday that he had been accused of sexual harassment and that his employer had reached financial settlements with his accusers.

The accusations and settlements arose during Cain's 1996-99 tenure as president of the National Restaurant Association and were first reported by Politico, a website and political newspaper. According to the report, the issue was settled internally and the women received an undisclosed settlement.

n appearances and television interviews Sunday and Monday, Cain repeatedly contradicted himself about the Politico report. On Sunday, his campaign did not deny the allegations. Yet, his campaign tried to shift the focus off of themselves by blaming the media and accusing the media of of "dredging up thinly sourced allegations."

On Monday, Cain denied engaging in sexual harassement. He stated, ""No. 1, in all of my over 40 years of business experience running businesses and corporations, I have never sexually harassed anyone," Cain said during a speech at the National Press Club. "No. 2, while at the restaurant association … I was falsely accused of sexual harassment."

Cain added that he was "unaware" of any settlement that had been reached. "I hope it wasn't for much because I didn't do anything," he said.

Several hours later, Cain changed his explanation in an interview with Fox News, saying he did not know a second woman had filed a complaint and that one woman received "maybe three months' salary." He also said, "I don't remember. It might have been two months'," Cain told Fox News, according to a Washington Examiner article. "I do remember my general counsel saying we didn't pay all of the money they demanded."

And on the PBS NewsHour, Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, described an incident in which he told one of the women that she and his wife were both short. In what I feel to be a disingeneuous and pathetic attempt at explaining himself he stated that he "did recall one mention in the formal complaint that my general counsel shared, and that was, one day I was gesturing standing near this lady that she was as tall as my wife," he said, gesturing to his own chin. "Five feet tall. Because my wife comes up to my chin, and I was gesturing to this lady, standing next to her, almost shoulder to shoulder, saying you're about the same height as my wife. That was mentioned in the allegation, to my surprise. And so that was the only thing I could recollect that was mentioned as one of the possible things."

It's funny how a man who claims to have all the answers doesn't even have answers to questions relating to serious allegations which were made against him. Not to mention, he doesn't even seem to understand what sexual harassment and discrimination is. For example, in an interview with Newshour when Cain was asked if there was any behavior on his part that might have been considered inappropriate, he answered: "In my opinion, no. But, as you would imagine, it's in the eye of the person who thinks that maybe I crossed the line. I worked for the Department of the Navy, the Coca-Cola company, Pillsbury, Burger King, Godfather's Pizza. Years and years and years of working in the business environment working around men, women, all types of people - never, never accused of any sort of sexual harassment. I have never sexually harassed anyone. And, so, this false allegation to now come up is kind of baffling."

I think this story is a perfect example of how important it is for people to understand what harassment is. I think there are plenty of people who do not understand what it entails. That's why it's important for both employers, including employees who are supervisors, to understand what is and is not appropriate in the workplace. To find out, it's important to get proper training from an attorney. Things are not always black and white and that's why we have attorneys... to help us figure out the grey areas.
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AuthorLaw Offices of Hasti Daneshvar