Back when I was a lawyer I handled several sexual harassment suits. None of mine settled for less than the high end of six figures.
Reading about these two complaints, my gut reaction to them is that settling for five figures, which could be as little as $10,000.00 and as high as $99,999, was “go away” money.
If the Chief Executive Officer of the National Restaurant Association, at the time one of the top 25 trade associations in Washington, D.C., were sexually harassing someone, that someone could get a lot of money. It just strikes me that a settlement for less than six figures is money paid to deal with the nuisances of an employee fired or otherwise let go who decided to raise the specter of harassment to get more money to leave without causing a scene.
Dealing with harassment claims, no matter how substantive or frivolous, is one of the costs of doing business in America that causes more and more businesses to not do business in America.
We don’t know a lot of the facts, but Ben Domenech does raise a good point I remember well from 2008. In his Transom this morning, he writes:
Many staffers were struck throughout the 2008 campaign by how often leaks about certain candidates would come out right before previously scheduled media availabilities or TV appearances, forcing a candidate to immediately answer difficult questions to a horde of rabid journalists or duck the avail and make it seem even worse. Now Cain has this story drop at 8 PM on a Sunday night—whole cloth, with no evidence of investigation beyond calling the people named in the documents—a mere 12 hours before he’s supposed to have a full day of media availability in Washington, DC at the American Enterprise Institute and the National Press Club. I feel like I’ve seen this movie. There are only two candidates running this time who ran then, and I don’t think Ron Paul even has an oppo research arm. Curiouser and curiouser.
I think people are finally starting to take Herman Cain seriously.
I would also note to the Cain campaign that they need to let the candidate deal with this himself. The communications director’s call in to Geraldo last night disqualifies him from doing so. And if he keeps on, it’s only a matter of time before reporters start asking the communications director about his own history at the Pentagon where he accused a female reporter of sexual harassment.