While I appreciate how practical this article is, I think that at some point, it’s fundamentally false. HR must do *at least* what is federally required, but their functional purpose — along with Legal — is to mitigate risk. I’d also argue that decent human beings would also have acted more strictly in Susan’s case.
Given that California is an at-will state, it is absolutely 100% possible that Uber could legally fire that manager for a first offense, of any kind. They could fire him for absolutely any reason at all that’s not discrimination. That decision would be extremely easy to defend from a human rights/moral standpoint, and one based on pure risk calculation. Given the statistics about sexual predators rarely having a single victim (and yes, I think that a manager who lacks the professional ability and human decency to not sexually proposition his direct report a sex predator) is rare, it’s reasonable to assume this isn’t an isolated event.
Then, the question becomes “If he is a A+ performer, but causes N+ people around him to perform worse, what number must N be to justify firing him?” We don’t know N, but it’s pretty clear that at Uber, the known floor of N is ~5. So do we think that he is worth 5+ women’s productivity? I’d have a very hard time finding justification that a mid-level manager was worth >5 other employees.