[Guest post by Aaron Worthing. Follow me on Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
Strap yourself in, because this is a long one.
Today via the AP, we read about the complaint that Karen Krausharr, one of Cains’ accusers who has not given details (as of this writing), made against the INS when she was their spokesperson. Her complaint about not being able to telecommute after an accident is… interesting, but not ultimately very illuminating. But her complaint about a mildly sexist allegedly humorous email is useful at this stage of the investigation, because she is being coy with the details of her accusation against Cain. All we know is she considered Cain’s conduct toward her inappropriate, and thus it is useful to see where her threshold for “pain” is, and apparently it is very, very low:
The complaint also cited as objectionable an email that a manager had circulated comparing computers to women and men, a former supervisor said. The complaint claimed that the email, based on humor widely circulated on the Internet, was sexually explicit, according to the supervisor, who did not have a copy of the email. The joke circulated online lists reasons men and women were like computers, including that men were like computers because “in order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.” Women were like computers because “even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.”
Of course if she ever tells us what precisely Cain has allegedly done, then it won’t matter whether she has been quick to file a complaint in the past or not. But until we can independently judge the severity of Cain’s alleged conduct toward her, this evidence is relevant and provides some illumination as to what she considers worthy of complaint.
But I didn’t really want to talk about that. As you might guess from the title, what this article really brings home for me in a serious way is how far we have strayed from our Constitution in the laudable goal of workplace equality.
But first, I have to make you understand what sexual harassment law is about. Many people think it has to be about sex, as in the act or human sexuality. The other day, for instance, James Taranto wrote the following:
The presence of both sexes in the workplace makes necessary some combination of laws, policies and customs to regulate sexual behavior on the job.
But let me throw a hypothetical at you for a moment. Imagine a white employee goes up to a black employee and starts calling him n——, calling him a slave, saying he should be lynched, and so on. What would us lawyers call that?