It all depends on what happens next. If the woman rebuffs him and the employer accepts her refusal with no subsequent retaliation, that shouldn't constitute harassment. If the boss keeps bothering the same woman -- or bothers so many different women that female employees begin to be wary of ever being around him -- then a harassment charge seems appropriate.
The problem is that in our hyper-politically correct and litigious society, we've turned boorish behavior into a matter that can be resolved only by lawyers. Not every unwanted advance should end up in a lawsuit or result in a financial settlement.
It may be that Herman Cain's behavior was over-the-top -- and if he truly kept coming on to women who had no interest and, moreover, worked for him, then he's probably a bad bet for president. What he's accused of indicates a lack of judgment and decorum, attributes we expect our leaders to possess. Since he's married, it also raises questions about his character. But let's not pretend that he's broken the law just because he may have behaved badly.
If these allegations end up bringing down Herman Cain's candidacy, it will be because he's been unwilling to come clean. He should have admitted what happened as soon as the issue was raised and thrown himself on the mercy of the voters.
There's no better story in American politics than a sinner who's found redemption. Just ask Bill Clinton.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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