The claim of sexual harassment here is disputed by Keillor. He doesn’t deny that something happened, but his explanation of it – the only explanation currently out there – just doesn’t sound like sexual harassment:
Keillor detailed one of the encounters to the Star Tribune, writing that he was fired because he put his hand on a woman’s bare back as he tried to console her.
He said in an email to the newspaper that he was trying to pat the woman’s back after she had told him “about her unhappiness.” Keillor wrote that the woman’s shirt was open and his hand went up about 6 inches.
On the one hand, I’m a bit confused about the geometry of the situation. Her shirt was open? I suppose there are some shirts that open from the back rather than the front… but why would such a shirt be open in business environment? On the other hand, patting someone’s back is a common gesture. If there was indeed something going on that was consolation-worthy, a pat on the back would be *very* understandable.
Details are sparse. Perhaps there was more to it than this, but if not, it seems that companies may be getting a bit too trigger-happy when it comes to firing people based purely on accusations. If a pat on the back can get you fired, then telepresence can’t come soon enough.