My female friend works in a US government research lab.
Recently, a very senior scientist in her lab (white male, extremely decorated, serious person) was rude to her, telling her that her presentation did not make sense, etc. He is 80 and perhaps lacks a little empathy, but my friend is certain that he was not being malicious. She got caught up in the moment and started crying. Many people overheard their conversation and later told her that he had a history of being rude to women, etc. She decided to not file any complaint.
Shockingly, today she found out that the senior scientist was let go from his job. Understandably, my friend and I both feel terrible. Mostly because he's made many serious contributions to science, and does not deserve this undignified exit from the lab he gave his life to.
Is there anything we can do? She wants to go talk to her supervisors to perhaps reinstate him, but how will something like that be received?
Edit: Technically, he was emeritus, and was probably not drawing a salary. But he used to still come every day to pursue his research. He was just told that he is no longer welcome on campus. He still has his part-time job at a nearby university.