Thank you for your question.
It is not against the law for a company to make a person both the office manager and HR person. It may be potentially a conflict of interest in the sense that one set of duties could conflict with the other set of duties but there isn't any law that prohibits a company from appointing a person to both positions.
Now, when you say bullying
, is this something that your friend believes may be based on something such as her race, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin? This is important, because the law affords no protection for "bullying", per se. As the Supreme Court once noted, the law is not a civility code. Nothing says an employer has to be nice, polite, friendly, outgoing, etc. In fact, yelling, screaming, swearing at employees, while certainly unprofessional, are not necessarily illegal.
That said, an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of things such as their sex, religion, age (40+) a disability, race, or national origin. They also cannot discriminate against an employee for public policy
reasons - e.g., an employee cannot be demoted or fired because they served jury duty
or exercised their right to vote, or because they refused to engage in unlawful activity when asked by an employer.
Has your friend attempted to contact someone in the parent company to discuss her concerns and what is going on? If this is a matter of discrimination
, and attempts have been made to resolve the matter with the employer without success, I would encourage her to consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission or EEOC
(www.eeoc.gov). They will invesigate and decide what action if any, to take. If they decline to proceed with the matter, they will issue a "right to sue" letter to your friend -after which she will have 90 days from the date of the letter to bring suit in court if she so chooses. Note that this is not a quick process - an EEOC claim can take months to hear back on simply because of the volume of claims being received.
If this is not a case of discrimination or a violation of public policy, then unfortunately, it isn't a legal matter but an internal matter that would have to be resolved by going through her employer. There again, I would say she would need to contact someone in the parent company and address the matter that way.