Select a location

This selection will switch the site from presenting information primarily about South Africa to information primarily about . If you would like to switch back, you may use location selection options at the top of the page.


Employment issues have gained increasing importance in the day-to-day operations and management of companies both in South Africa and internationally. Having the right legal support has become a necessity and is a crucial part of project and risk management. 

Our employment team assists South African and multinational clients, both in an advisory and litigation capacity, helping them meet their workforce objectives. We advise clients in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings. 

Our team's particular areas of focus are:

  • Acquisitions
  • Outsourcings
  • Expansion and reductions-in-force
  • Internal corporate reorganizations
  • Restructuring and collective dismissals
  • International mobility of workers / outsourcing
  • Managing relationships with unions and employee representatives
  • Day-to-day employment related matters and recurring sensitive issues
  • Local or multi-jurisdictional compliance

Personal information is an increasingly valuable – and increasingly risky – business asset. As businesses struggle to keep up with the critical, fast-changing data protection laws and face an increasing risk of serious data breaches, DLA Piper is uniquely positioned to help guide clients.

Our team of data protection lawyers in South Africa, supported by a global team of more than 130 lawyers, provides highly sophisticated data management, data security and privacy law advice that affect companies doing business in South Africa.  Our local experience, supplemented by the DLA Piper global presence, gives clients the important advantage of local knowledge and cultural awareness, combined with consistent, practical advice.

Our team members are very involved in local compliance culture and maintain close contacts with local regulators in South Africa as well as linking this to international trends and best practice (including being able to advise on the GDPR and how South African multinationals are affected by this).  Our data protection team has successfully worked together in recent years to assist various multinational and local organisations in the design and implementation of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) gap analyses, privacy and security programs including carrying out audit and risk assessments, developing global policies, implementing effective international data transfer strategies, and negotiating cloud and other complex international data transfer agreements.

Core areas include:

  • Audits and data mapping
  • Compliance programs and policies
  • Data protection impact assessments
  • Data protection policies, consent forms and terms of use
  • Data subject access and objection rights
  • Data security, data loss prevention and data breaches
  • Online and mobile tracking and consumer protection regulation
  • E-discovery and investigations management
  • Global data transfer management (transfer agreements, BCRs, consents forms etc.)
  • Data breach incident response planning and execution
  • Supervisory authority relations (notifications, prior authorizations, DPO appointments)
  • Whistle-blowing hotlines, employee monitoring and suspect persons screening
  • Drafting and negotiation operator agreements

Key contacts

Experience has included advising:

  • In conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment for a major multinational mining company.
  • In conducting an investigation into fraud allegations relating to an employee of a client in the automotive industry.
  • In carrying out an investigation into racism in the workplace for a leading manufacturer and provider of commercial products to the mining and related industries.
  • In collective bargaining and negotiation with unions on behalf of a client in the automotive industry.
  • In providing retrenchment and restructuring advice in respect of employees of various clients in various industries.
  • In relation to poor performance processes for clients in the healthcare and insurance industries.
  • Various clients in drafting employment contracts and policies across a multitude of industries.
  • A client in the financial sector in a CCMA arbitration regarding an unfair dismissal.
  • On section 197 of the Labour Relations Act in the case of the sale of a business as a going concern.
  • Equity committees in employment equity, as well as training

POPIA: The long wait is over

The Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPIA) came into effect on 1 July 2020 but was subject to a 12-month grace period, which ended yesterday (30 June 2021). Therefore, from today (1 July 2021) POPIA is fully in effect, save for certain provisions.