Zero Tolerance Policies Are Stupid
But, that being said, there is something monumentally more stupid that zero tolerance policies, and that’s having one, and then not following it. I can’t imagine what Tod will say when he sees this story except, “Arrgh!”
Look, regardless of how terribly bad (or not) a person feels about their violation of a policy, there’s the policy. It’s right there. And your feelings, as the perpetrator, aren’t the important thing… or even a relevant thing. You’re the one that broke the policy.
An organization has responsibilities to its constituency. And when you, as an organization, write a zero tolerance sexual harassment policy and then someone violates that policy, you have two choices.
You can live up to the promises you made to the constituency – including the perpetrator! – or get prepared to eat a big pile.
(side note: even under a more nuanced sexual harassment policy, this guy acted like a turd and deserves to get the book thrown at him)