Our expert says:
It's tough at the top anyway, and as the only black person near the top, the conflict could well be greater ( though they probably backstab each other, as well ).
Sounds like what they may be trying is something forbidden by law, called Constructive Dismissal --- they have no reason to fire you and could be sued if they did, so they try to change your situation and conditions at work, to try to force you to resign, instead. And treating you less well than your predecessor sounds dodgy. It could be worth your while to consult with a labour lawyer and clarify your rights. Four months isn't long, of course, but the events don't sound promising.
I agree with other readers that one of the smartest things you can do in the meantime is to work so excellently that they will look increasingly foolish for not recognizing your worth. And without constantly complaining, document any mistreatment, for instance simply send calm, polite memos to your bosses, pointing out, for instance, that you are troubled that, though you deal with confidential stuff, you haven't been provided with either an office or similar facilities to protect and care for confidential documents, and ask what they can provide to help in that regard.
In another, you can point out pleasantly that it is obviously very difficult to concentrate on the matters you must read and deal with, in the noisy general office environment, and ask what they can suggest to provide you with a quiet place in which to do this work.
I notice that J picks up on the Constructive Dismissal point I made earlier, and the HR / CCMA route may be worth at least exploring. Ntsikie ably shows how finding a constructive way to stand up for oneself can indeed help ; and even if you subsequently find a better position for yourself elsewhere, you may be able to establish principles which will apply to others who join the company and who might otherwise face similar discrimination.
Sounds like a really lousy idea for any company to have the sam person as head of HR AND head of anyone else, as the degree of conflict of interest is obvious --- the sort of thing that could interest the CCMA.
Before you resign, DO speak to a labour lawyer and the CCMA --- don't lose the rights you have, and don't encourage these guys to to the same thing to the next black person they hire into such a post.
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