American Morning

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November 3rd, 2011
04:55 AM ET

Talk Back: Do we understand what constitutes sexual harrasment?

From CNN's Carol Costello:

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You'd think that after the nation watched the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill scandal unfold in 1991, we'd all understand by now what exactly constitutes sexual harassment.  But the accusations leveled against Herman Cain have brought these questions back to the forefront.

Some, like conservative radio host Laura Graham, claim that Herman Cain's accusers have an ulterior motive.

"We have seen this movie before and we know how it ends," Graham said Monday.  "It always ends up being an employee who can't perform or who under-performs and is looking for a little green."

We don't even know the accuser's name – or her version of the story. Yet she's under attack. And yes, so is Herman Cain.

But let's put politics aside and talk about an issue that still seems to confuse us.

Critics say an undue focus on sexual harassment have made workplaces too politically correct.

"There are people now who hesitate to tell a joke to a woman in the workplace, any kind of joke, because it could be interpreted incorrectly," Senator Rand Paul told the National Review.

But women's advocates say sexual harassment is the most important issue in the workplace for women. They argue that it denies them equal employment opportunity. And if they choose to file a claim, it puts them in a no-win situation.

According to its legal definition, sexual harassment can include "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and physical harassment of a sexual nature." But it can also mean making offensive comments about women in general to the point where it creates a hostile work environment.

Talk Back: Do we understand what constitutes sexual harrasment?

Let us know what you think. Your answer may be read on this morning's broadcast!

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