Karen Fulton

Karen Fulton

Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9513
E: karen.fulton@bowmanslaw.com
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Karen Fulton is a partner in our Johannesburg office Employment & Benefits Practice.

She specialises in all aspects of South African employment law including exiting executive employees, corporate restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, bonus disputes, restraints of trade, unfair dismissal and unfair labour practice claims, unfair discrimination, sexual harassment, boardroom disputes, cross-border contracts and disputes.

Karen’s expertise has been recognised by Chambers Global (Employment), Legal 500 and PLC. Karen has served two periods as an acting judge of the Labour Court and has sat on private tribunals in employment disputes.  

Karen has BA and LLB degrees from Stellenbosch University and is an accredited Tokiso meditator and arbitrator.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

  • Karen has been a partner for over 20 years and her regular clients include Nestle, EY, Oracle, Marsh, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Apple and Abbott Laboratories,
  • Karen recently assisted a client in identifying an employee who was making bomb threats. This involved an investigation to identify who was making the calls, court applications to obtain telephone records, the dismissal of the employee concerned and assisting the client in reporting the matter to the police.
  • Karen frequently manages cross border disputes. She recently advised an African bank on changes to the management team and board of directors in a matter where the board and the main shareholder were at loggerheads.
  • Multi-jurisdictional restructuring of Kansai Plascon’s business across six African jurisdictions.
  • Karen advised a subsidiary of a global insurance company on the dismissal of their South African CEO and in doing so, managed a multi-disciplinary team of both corporate, regulatory and employment lawyers.

Signature Matters


  • Chambers and Partners have ranked Karen in Band 3 for her work in Employment for nine consecutive years (2015 to 2023).
  • Karen is consistently recognised by Who’s Who Legal 2018 in the following categories Thought Leaders: Labour & Employment;  Employment & Benefits:  Pensions & Benefits;  and Employment & Benefits:  Labour & Employment.
  • Legal 500 consistently lists Karen as a recommended lawyer for Employment.

Karen Fulton is very knowledgeable, easily accessible and very good at explaining legal issues to line managers.

She is a fantastic partner to work with and always pulls in experts when necessary for added comfort and guidance. – Chambers and Partners, 2023

Karen Fulton is a trusted advisor in the financial services sector.

Karen Fulton is an excellent leader and heads up the team. Her integrity is beyond question. She has acted as a Judge which demonstrates the regard her peers and the judiciary have for her capabilities. Her commitment to the client is exemplary. She keeps her team on track providing them with the right level of supervision but to ensure the taking of initiative and individual growth. – Legal 500, 2022

Karen is an extremely competent lawyer. She is knowledgeable in respect of the law but adopts a practical and insightful approach to ensure the best commercial outcome for the client. She focuses on meeting the customer’s needs and expected outcomes. She excels in strategic and tactical thinking. – Chambers and Partners, 2022

Very strong employment law team that complement each other. Karen Fulton is my go-to person for employment law advice.

Karen Fulton makes herself available day or night and provides clear and decisive advice. – Legal 500, 2021

Karen Fulton is sought out by clients for her counsel on employment disputes, including unfair dismissals, workplace discrimination and harassment matters. She has further experience handling retrenchments, as well as cross-border matters, with a client following featuring a number of high-profile international names. – Chambers and Partners, 2021

Karen Fulton is popular with large corporate clients for her capacity to navigate complex and contentious employment issues. Her practice covers issues regarding discrimination, sexual harassment, dismissals and collective disputes, with sources noting that she “brings gravitas and dynamics” to her matters.Chambers and Partners 2020

Karen Fulton has wide-ranging employment expertise covering forensic investigations, discrimination, employee dismissals and executive exits. She is noted as “solution-oriented,” as well as “very pragmatic, extremely responsive and forthright.”Chambers and Partners 2019

Karen Fulton is recognised for her work touching upon a range of employment issues, including unfair discrimination, boardroom disputes and executive contracts. Her impressive list of clients includes several major multinationals. Chambers and Partners 2018

‘Clients value Karen Fulton for her depth of knowledge in the financial services sector, with impressive aptitude in corporate restructurings and internal dismissals. One source described her as “just outstanding” in this field.’Chambers and Partners 2017

“Karen Fulton advises on various employment mandates such as the dismissal of executives, corporate restructuring and matters relating to M&A. One source comments: “I have no hesitation recommending her.””Chambers and Partners 2016

Publications & Insights