Johan Botes

Baker & McKenzie


Johan Botes heads Baker McKenzie’s Employment Practice Group in Johannesburg. Johan is experienced in employment law and labor relations, focusing on South African and sub-Saharan African employment law and employee relations. He regularly advises multinational clients on industrial relations, employment negotiations, labor dispute resolution, change management, and organizational restructuring.

Practice Focus

Johan's practice spans a range of industries including financial services, consulting, fast-moving consumer goods, aviation, pension funds, media, retail, manufacturing and mining. He also focuses on corporate restructuring, employment litigation, advising and assisting with collective bargaining and trade union recognition, managing relations with trade unions, acting as negotiator for management teams, managing industrial action, employment disputes, transfers of undertakings and employment law implications of such transfers, and optimizing contracting models.

His experience also includes advising on dismissals for misconduct, poor performance and retrenchments, collective labor law issues, as well as labor disputes and strategic advice in relation to trade unions. Johan is well regarded for his comments around employment matters and has often appeared in radio and television interviews concerning various employment law issues.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Advised a multinational company on its corporate restructuring and large-scale retrenchment of employees across 23 departments.
  • Advised a Fortune 1000 company on employment implications of the deterioration of the working relationship with business partners.
  • Counseled a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on its investigation into the alleged misconduct of various employees involving fraud, bribery, corruption and corruption, including multijurisdictional disciplinary proceedings.
  • Advised a South African airline on a strike by ground staff and assisted the airline in managing the impact of the strike (and subsequent lock-out) and resolved it without undue impact on the airline or its customers.
  • Advised an infrastructure solutions and communications services provider on the possible acquisition of a business, the employment issues relating to the transfer of business and the anticipated transfer of around 2,000 workers and redundancies.
  • Assisted a multinational bank and financial services company on a complex, phased exit of the CEO/director of the client's regional group operations.
  • Advised a globally leading auditing firm on employment law issues surrounding the acquisition of a UK company.
  • Counseled and acted for a luxury game lodge on restructuring its local operations and various employment matters.
  • Advised a global medical technology company on its integration in South Africa, particularly relating to the transfer of business process and harmonization of employment conditions and workplace practices.

Professional Honors

  • Recognised as a leading lawyer in South Africa by Chambers Global
  • Recognised as an exclusive Legal Influencer by Lexology

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of the Northern Provinces - Member
  • South African Society for Labour Law (SASLAW) - Member
  • Pension Lawyers Association - Member


  • South Africa (2006)


  • University of Witwatersrand, Mandela Institute of Law (Certificate in Pension Law) (2013)
  • University of South Africa (LLM) (2010)
  • University of South Africa (LLB) (2004)
  • University of South Africa (Certificate in Legal Practice) (2004)
  • Pepperdine University (Accreditation: Louw du Toit & Ass, SA)(Management of Change) (2001)
  • University of Pretoria (Certificate in Advanced Labour Relations Management, cum laude) (2000)
  • University of Pretoria (Certificate in Labour Relations) (1999)
  • UNISA School for Business Leadership (Development Program in Labour Relations) (1997)


  • Afrikaans
  • English
Gendery Pay and Pay Equity Insight


Botes, J. 2016. “Laws of Life – Law & Ethics in the Workplace” CliffCentral

Botes, J. 2016. "Panel: A Labour Market in Crisis" Classic FM