Global menu

Our global pages


Employment case studies – South Africa

  • South Africa
  • Employment law


Welcome to our employment case studies feature. Drawing on our team’s experience, our aim is to keep you up to date with recent key developments to help you manage your employment challenges. We do hope you find it useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to find out more.

Recent case studies

Everybody’s Fired!

South Africa is well into strike season. The corporate and government environments are tense and emotions are running high. A number of trade unions and their members have taken to the streets to secure their interests. Unfortunately, during this time, emerge many cases of violence, damage to property and other acts of misconduct and criminality.

The perpetrators of these acts typically hide themselves in the crowds. Frustrated by the difficulty in identifying these perpetrators and the group’s failure to expose them, the employer is tempted to simply “get rid of the whole lot of them”. Are employers entitled to do this? Read more...

No restraint by which he is bound

Pacta sunt servanda is not something you are likely to hear Maggie from HR blurt out when you sign your employment contract. However, that peculiar Latin phrase meaning “agreements must be kept” is the bedrock of common law contracts. It also applies to those typically wordy addendums to employment contracts, better known as restraint of trade agreements. Indeed, it is a misconception that the Courts do not uphold restraint of trade agreements. Nevertheless, there are those employees that will stop at nothing to wriggle out of their promises. In attempting to do so, two employees have been especially creative in their arguments before the Labour Court of late. Read more...

Close but no cigar

A useful reminder of the importance of restraint of trade clauses in employment agreements. Oh, so you think you can prevent your employees from joining a competitor without having a restraint of trade agreement. Think again! Read more...

Naughty Employees Can No Longer Get Away With Murder

Employers cringed at the recent case of Kalipa Mtati // KPMG Services (Pty) Ltd in which the court dealt with whether an employer can discipline an employee after he has resigned with immediate effect. Read more...

Smoking policy

Ditch your Peter Stuyvesants, Vape, or Twisp. A new Bill is on the horizon which could potentially encourage you to think twice about lighting up, or at the very least it will regulate how frequently you take a smoke break. Read more...

Who is crazy now?

Unlike physical illnesses, psychological disorders are (somewhat) intangible and their physical manifestations are often limited to the manner in which the sufferer acts. This notion carries with it the inherent risk for employers and employees alike that a psychological ailment suffered by an employee may not be immediately recognized by both parties. Once this fact does come to the attention of an employer, however, it is prudent that it appreciates the (potential severity of the) condition and responds appropriately. The case of Ockert Jansen v Legal Aid South Africa delivered on 16 May 2018 was no exception and illustrates the prospective harm which may result for an employer, in this particular case the respondent, who fails to do so. Read more...

Warning Employers – Employees’ Hate Speech on Social Media… or Yours?

In order to uphold and safeguard the constitutionally entrenched rights of equality and dignity, the South African legislature has recently promulgated the Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, 2018 (“the Bill”). The Bill has not yet been passed into law. However, it is important for employers to take note thereof in order that they may mitigate against any potential risk in the meanwhile. Read more...