Photo of Johan Botes

Johan Botes

Baker & McKenzie


Johan Botes heads Baker McKenzie’s Employment & Compensation 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. His team manages multijurisdictional employment and employee relations projects on behalf of various multinational clients.

Practice Focus

Johan's practice spans a range of industries including financial services, consulting, aviation, media, retail, manufacturing and mining. He focuses on multijurisdictional employment law and employee relations projects, from amending contracts, benefits and policies across multiple jurisdictions, to employment aspects of legal entity integration and post-transaction integration, to restructuring and reductions in force in various locations. With his award-winning team he assists global clients with 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 voluntary and involuntary termination of employment, 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 often appears in radio and television interviews concerning various employment law issues.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Coordinated multijurisdictional employment project for a global client across 143 jurisdictions.
  • 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 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.
  • Advised a globally leading auditing firm on employment law issues surrounding the acquisition of a UK company.
  • Managed multiple multijurisdictional projects in Africa and the Middle East for a global management consulting firm.
  • Counseled and acted for a luxury game lodge on restructuring its local operations and various employment matters.
  • Advised a multinational technology company on establishing operations in South Africa and best workforce solutions for staffing their new business and assisted in the implementation of the new business.

Professional Honors

  • Recognised as a leading lawyer in South Africa by Chambers Global
  • Recognised as a leading individual in Legal 500
  • Awarded Acritas Star award for client service
  • Recognised in BestLawyer
  • Recognised as an exclusive Legal Influencer by Lexology
  • Employment Law Team of the Year 2019, 2021 - African Legal Awards

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 the 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
  • Dutch
  • English