Your coworker needs to go hit up the LBSs that are accessible to him and needs to tell the staff what he wants to do and how much he's wanting to spend. Go for some rides. Then he'll seek guidance from you (might consider cutting out the middle man and suggest that he join BF).
That being said, the Giant Escape, Specialized Sirrus, Trek FX 7.3/4, Jamis Coda, Raleigh Cadent, Kona Dew... basically any performance orientated hybrid will do the trick. Or an entry level roadie. But he's got ride them to figure out which he likes better.