My boyfriend is working in a big tech company in the US. Once he joined and showed some good success and very fast contributions, his manager got a bit scared and started to contain him and making him uncomfortable (and he kept saying it to him. Looks like he had an employee at his previous company who became his boss, so he feels insecure).
The manager is asking other colleagues to clone his projects, meaning another person is also working on the same exact thing (with a twist in names!). The manager made the place political and gave higher merit increases to less performant people. He manipulates contributions and people's expertise to reach a certain goal- giving promotion to his gang people, mostly people of same country.
He does everything to stop my bf to rise and be seen. My bf made the largest number of components for a big project, but the manager asks the program coordinators to act as if some other ones made the contributions. He gives "fun" projects to his favorite ones (and he says that in writing also). My boyfriend was expecting a promotion with his good work (which everybody knows), but in fact he got one of the low merit increases (and he knows the number for some others). There is an open-idea week where people announce their ideas. His manager misleads him about not talking about a part of his idea. He knew it, he did and exactly that part of the idea was the most received business idea in the open-idea week. And after the success, then the manager warns him he'll ask other people to work on his idea.
He doesn't have IP security. With a PhD and 7 yrs of academic and industry experience, his rank is same as his colleague with a fresh 1-yr masters (same country of the manager). He is getting very demotivated, in spite that he is one of the few who actually knows many aspects of that group.
Overall, is this something my bf should discuss with HR? Is office politics generally illegal? Which of these events are something that need to be raised? Discussing with HR usually is a suicide and they simply ask people out.