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NYT: Not A Typical ‘Harassment’ Settlement

From the New York Times:

Cain Accuser Got a Year’s Salary in Severance Pay

By JIM RUTENBERG, JEFF ZELENY and MIKE McINTIRE
November 1, 2011

WASHINGTON — The National Restaurant Association gave $35,000 — a year’s salary — in severance pay to a female staff member in the late 1990s after an encounter with Herman Cain, its chief executive at the time, made her uncomfortable working there, three people with direct knowledge of the payment said on Tuesday.

The woman was one of two whose accusations of sexual harassment by Mr. Cain, now a Republican candidate for president, led to paid severance agreements during his 1996-99 tenure at the association. Disclosure of the scale of the severance further challenged his initial description of the matter as a “witch hunt,” as did new descriptions from the woman’s friends and colleagues of her level of discomfort at work

How so? The size of her severance does not refute Cain’s "initial description" of the matter at all. He said he was unaware of any settlement. This was not a settlement. It was "severance pay" by the New York Times’ own admission. Cain said she had been given some kind of severance pay.

Furthermore, it is hard to see how the "disclosure of the scale of the severance" challenges anything Cain said. Cain’s called the Politico’s dredging up this minor and ancient history a "witch hunt."

By the way, the Politico must have known that this payment was a year’s salary, $35,000. Why didn’t they publish that information? Why did they try to make it sound more mysterious and higher by describing it as a "five figure" amount? (These are rhetorical questions.)

The precise nature of the encounters between Mr. Cain and the two women remained murky. He has said over the past two days that he joked with one of the women about her height. But he has not addressed what happened with the other woman — the one said to have received the $35,000 payment.

Mr. Cain has addressed it. He said he didn’t know about her claims.

Her friends and colleagues said she had told them at the time that she was deeply uncomfortable about the situation

Then that proves it, huh? Don’t most terminated employees say something like this to their friends and colleagues? What are they supposed do say? ‘I was fired because I was incompetent and a troublemaker’?

Four people with contemporaneous knowledge of the encounter

Shouldn’t that read – "four people who claim to have contemporaneous knowledge of the encounter"? Funny how journalistic standards change when they are on a witch hunt.

[S]aid it had taken place in the context of a work outing during which there had been heavy drinking — a hallmark, they said, of outings with an organization that represents the hospitality industry.

They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid being publicly drawn into the dispute, and declined to provide details of the encounter, saying they did not want to violate the privacy of the woman.

Thank goodness these anonymous sources are able to add more damning details like this. There was drinking!

Two of them said that other factors had been involved in her severance, and that other workplace issues had been making her unhappy at the association as well.

Well, isn’t that interesting? "Other factors" like her work being substandard? We’re sure the news media will stress this from now on.

But they said the encounter with Mr. Cain had added an emotional charge and contributed to the size of her payment.

So the supposed ‘sexual harassment’ was just a throw in – to sweeten the pot to get her to leave on her own accord?

One former colleague familiar with the details said such a severance was not common, especially for an employee with the woman’s relatively short tenure and her pay grade.

If an employee is obnoxious enough, companies will pay more to get rid of them.

The situation with the other woman appeared to be more in keeping with a standard settlement related to harassment allegations, though she never filed a lawsuit in a case that, one person familiar with her accusations said, included “more than one” claim of an incident that made her feel uncomfortable

So even the New York Times is admitting that the first settlement was not a typical sex harassment case. Which supports Cain’s claim that he did not know there was another harassment claim.

Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny reported from Washington, and Mike McIntire from New York. Michael D. Shear contributed reporting from Washington.

It took four reporters to come up with this earthshaking story. It’s clear The Times has its priorities in order, too.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

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