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Talita Laubscher

Partner | Johannesburg

Talita-Laubscher

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Contact

T: +27 11 669 9522

Overview

‘Employment law is the one practice area in a corporate law firm where one works daily with various rights protected in the Bill of Rights – the right to equality, the right to fair labour practices, the right to privacy, the right to freedom of association, the right to human dignity. This, together with the principle of fairness, is what drew me to employment law, and later data protection law’, says Talita.

Clients rely on her to provide practical, excellent advice – usually within fast turnaround times.

When assisting a client with an employment law problem, her approach is to listen with an open mind and provide options, which would differ according to the associated legal, business and employee relations risks. All these risks must be weighed up, and ultimately the client must be empowered to make the most informed decision possible.

In the employment law domain, she regularly advises on the employment consequences of commercial transactions, dismissals and the drafting of employment contracts. She is particularly interested in law of unfair discrimination and was part of the team who advised Business Unity South Africa on the amendments to the Employment Equity Act and the Regulations pertaining to equal pay which took effect in 2014. This interest in discrimination law as fostered through her exposure to foreign discrimination law, first as a participant in the International Human Rights Training Programme in Montreal, Canada, in 1996 and later as a student of Employment Discrimination and International Law at Emory, USA.

Talita is also at the forefront of data protection developments. She and her team developed a Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) toolkit to enable employers to ensure compliance. However, her expertise on data protection extends beyond the employment relationship and she advises on all aspects of data protection.

Although many of the matters she deals with are time-sensitive, speed should not be at the expense of a quality solution. Talita is adept at maintaining the balance and at identifying circumstances where it is necessary to tread carefully and patiently rather than hastily.

Talita works with a team she describes as ‘brilliant’, while noting that the buck stops with herself as the partner.

Talita has acted as a judge in Labour Court.

She is also a keen researcher and has published extensively. She co-authored Sibergramme’s Contracts of Employment with Chris Todd and contributes two chapters to Employment Equity Law, an academic textbook on employment equity.

Experience

Jurisdictions worked in: South Africa
Languages fluent in: English and Afrikaans

Talita has been involved in groundbreaking cases, in the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, such as:

  • a dismissal dispute where one of the issues was whether people from designated groups can insist on protection during a retrenchment exercise;
  • a second generation outsourcing case that involved multiple group entities;
  • a transfer of employment case that confirmed that use of assets (as opposed to transfer of ownership) is sufficient to trigger the application of section 197 of the Labour Relations Act;
  • an equal pay dispute involving the concept of indirect discrimination – the first of its kind in our jurisprudence.

The Covid-19 pandemic posed unique challenges to employers, and through Talita’s involvement with the work of Business for South Africa (B4SA), she provided extensive guidance to employers through the various Alert Levels. She was intimately involved in the Nedlac processes, most notably the TERS benefit and advice pertaining to employers’ obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Directives. The issue of mandatory vaccinations in the workplace was a hot topic, and Talita and her team assisted various employers in developing their Workplace Plans to ensure compliance with the Directives.

Awards

  • Chambers Global ranked Talita in Band 3 for her work in Employment in 2024.
  • Talita was recognised by Who’s Who Legal 2018 in the category Employment & Benefits:  Labour & Employment, Africa Employment Law Firm of the year. This was awarded in recognition of the Firm’s advice in the formation of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and its subsidiaries, a transaction in which Talita and her team was intimately involved.

‘She is a very competent lawyer in understanding the legal technical environment. She deals with practical situations and gives good advice.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

AREA OF EXPERTISE

Qualifications

  • LLM, University of Emory, USA
  • LLB (cum laude), University of Free State.
  • Iuris (cum laude), University of Free State.

INSIGHTS

South Africa: New draft regulations dealing with employment equity sectoral numerical targets released South Africa: Public holidays on 15 and 16 December: Like the Springboks, we all win! Harnessing Africa’s free trade agenda – AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Services South Africa: Update on the Employment Equity Act amendments South Africa: ‘Ground-breaking’ settlement agreement on employment equity signed South Africa: Information Regulator shows its teeth and conducts an increasing number of assessments South Africa: Draft sectoral targets for employment equity published South Africa: Sectoral targets in the Employment Equity Amendment Act – frequently asked questions South Africa: Employees must have their jobs back after maternity leave South Africa: Amended Employment Equity Act to become operative on 1 September 2023 South Africa: CCMA decides that an employer’s vaccination policy is unreasonable and unconstitutional – should employers be concerned? South Africa: End of Disaster Management transitional period – can employers allow employees to toss away their masks? South Africa: The developing case law on vaccinations South Africa: Recourse for employees who are injured as a result of vaccinations South Africa: Vaccination requirements at the workplace – are they permitted under the new legislative framework? South Africa: End of the National State of Disaster – what it means for employers South Africa: New hazardous biological agents regulations further regulate employers’ responsibilities for managing COVID-19 exposure in the workplace South Africa: New Code of Good Practice to replace the Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces South Africa: Exemptions from vaccine requirements in the workplace on the basis of religion, opinion or belief South Africa: Increase to the Unemployment Insurance Fund contribution ceiling COVID-19: TERS relief extension in South Africa and revised reduced work time benefit COVID-19: Continued TERS relief in South Africa for certain categories of employees and revised reduced work time benefit South Africa: New BCEA threshold and increase in national minimum wage COVID-19: Can an employer in South Africa force its employees to get vaccinated? COVID-19: Health data reporting by employers in South Africa – what you should know COVID-19: TERS applications closing dates COVID-19: South Africa – Extension of TERS benefit to 15 September 2020 COVID-19: South Africa – TERS benefit extended for certain categories of employees COVID-19: Amended Consolidated Occupational Health and Safety Direction COVID-19: Alert Level 3 – what South African employers should do COVID-19: Alert Level 4 Regulations – workplace plans and safety measures, South Africa COVID-19: Ensuring a safe return to work, South Africa COVID-19: The new workplace – the employer’s health and safety obligations do not stop at the office door COVID-19: TERS benefit – Amended Directives, South Africa COVID-19: Tax treatment of TERS benefits, South Africa COVID-19: South African TERS benefit – what you need to know COVID-19: Must employees be paid during the lockdown in South Africa? COVID-19: Domestic workers during the lockdown in South Africa COVID-19: Meaning of a gathering COVID-19: Guidelines from the South African Department of Employment and Labour COVID-19 and proceedings before the CCMA in South Africa COVID-19 and school closures – impact on the workplace Safeguarding the workplace from COVID-19: suggested preventative measures Safeguarding the workplace from COVID-19 Unconstitutionality of RICA should not affect employers Conditional employment is a commercial reality What is one month’s notice? National minimum wage Protecting pregnant employees – cold comfort? Labour broker deeming provisions interpreted to create a position of ’sole’ employment Equal Pay – Three Years on The employment relationship and how it is affected by business transfers in countries across Africa Cross Border Employment Law: Mergers & Acquisitions and Employee Transfers Equal work for equal pay – length of service and different geographic areas may be arbitrary criteria No man can serve two masters Youth wage subsidy a delicate balancing act

Overview

‘Employment law is the one practice area in a corporate law firm where one works daily with various rights protected in the Bill of Rights – the right to equality, the right to fair labour practices, the right to privacy, the right to freedom of association, the right to human dignity. This, together with the principle of fairness, is what drew me to employment law, and later data protection law’, says Talita.

Clients rely on her to provide practical, excellent advice – usually within fast turnaround times.

When assisting a client with an employment law problem, her approach is to listen with an open mind and provide options, which would differ according to the associated legal, business and employee relations risks. All these risks must be weighed up, and ultimately the client must be empowered to make the most informed decision possible.

In the employment law domain, she regularly advises on the employment consequences of commercial transactions, dismissals and the drafting of employment contracts. She is particularly interested in law of unfair discrimination and was part of the team who advised Business Unity South Africa on the amendments to the Employment Equity Act and the Regulations pertaining to equal pay which took effect in 2014. This interest in discrimination law as fostered through her exposure to foreign discrimination law, first as a participant in the International Human Rights Training Programme in Montreal, Canada, in 1996 and later as a student of Employment Discrimination and International Law at Emory, USA.

Talita is also at the forefront of data protection developments. She and her team developed a Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) toolkit to enable employers to ensure compliance. However, her expertise on data protection extends beyond the employment relationship and she advises on all aspects of data protection.

Although many of the matters she deals with are time-sensitive, speed should not be at the expense of a quality solution. Talita is adept at maintaining the balance and at identifying circumstances where it is necessary to tread carefully and patiently rather than hastily.

Talita works with a team she describes as ‘brilliant’, while noting that the buck stops with herself as the partner.

Talita has acted as a judge in Labour Court.

She is also a keen researcher and has published extensively. She co-authored Sibergramme’s Contracts of Employment with Chris Todd and contributes two chapters to Employment Equity Law, an academic textbook on employment equity.

Experience

Jurisdictions worked in: South Africa
Languages fluent in: English and Afrikaans

Talita has been involved in groundbreaking cases, in the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, such as:

  • a dismissal dispute where one of the issues was whether people from designated groups can insist on protection during a retrenchment exercise;
  • a second generation outsourcing case that involved multiple group entities;
  • a transfer of employment case that confirmed that use of assets (as opposed to transfer of ownership) is sufficient to trigger the application of section 197 of the Labour Relations Act;
  • an equal pay dispute involving the concept of indirect discrimination – the first of its kind in our jurisprudence.

The Covid-19 pandemic posed unique challenges to employers, and through Talita’s involvement with the work of Business for South Africa (B4SA), she provided extensive guidance to employers through the various Alert Levels. She was intimately involved in the Nedlac processes, most notably the TERS benefit and advice pertaining to employers’ obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Directives. The issue of mandatory vaccinations in the workplace was a hot topic, and Talita and her team assisted various employers in developing their Workplace Plans to ensure compliance with the Directives.

Awards

  • Chambers Global ranked Talita in Band 3 for her work in Employment in 2024.
  • Talita was recognised by Who’s Who Legal 2018 in the category Employment & Benefits:  Labour & Employment, Africa Employment Law Firm of the year. This was awarded in recognition of the Firm’s advice in the formation of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and its subsidiaries, a transaction in which Talita and her team was intimately involved.

‘She is a very competent lawyer in understanding the legal technical environment. She deals with practical situations and gives good advice.’ – Chambers and Partners, 2024

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