- Publications & Insights
Graham Damant is a partner in our Johannesburg office Employment & Benefits Practice.
Graham is often retained by boards of companies to advise on the employment of executives or the termination of employment of executives where performance has been unsatisfactory. He is retained on matters where there is a risk of reputational harm due to the conduct of employees and advises boards on appropriate responses. He is involved in the investigation and response to sensitive whistleblowing reports. He has considerable expertise in the handling of strikes, retrenchments, section 197 transfers and changes to terms and conditions of employment.
Graham has particular experience in the field of employee benefits. This includes short-term and long-term incentive schemes, share plans, pension funds and medical aid schemes. He has advised employers on the application of malus and clawback in share schemes, the interpretation of share plan rules and the issue of replacement awards following changes in ownership. In the areas of pensions funds Graham has been involved in a number of significant disputes between employers and pension funds as well as conversion from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes and changes to retirement arrangements. He is retained to advise boards of pension funds on disputes pertaining to the distribution of death benefits, unclaimed benefits and disputes pertaining to the use of surplus.
He has acted as a judge in the Labour Court and assisted with the drafting of our labour legislation.
He has BCom and LLB degrees as well as a Higher Diploma in Company Law from the University of the Witwatersrand and an LLM from the London School of Economics.
- Acted for employers in the retail sector in the Labour Court, Labour Appeal Court and Constitutional Court proceedings regarding the decision of the Minister to place the Wholesale and Retail Sector Training Authority under administration.
- Acted for the Ekhurhuleni Municipality in a Constitutional Court dispute regarding obligations to make payment to the fund.
- Acted for the Southern Sun Pension Fund in the Supreme Court of Appeal matter where the court overturned the regulations pertaining to unclaimed benefits.
- Acted for Alexander Forbes in a dispute involving the termination of employment of an ex-Chief Executive.
- Acted for Transman in the Supreme Court of Appeal in a matter relating to the right of the High Court to review executive dismissals.
- Acted for Pick ‘n Pay Retailers (Pty) Ltd for the past 30 years in dealing with strikes, retrenchments, collective agreements, disputes regarding atypical employment, unfair discrimination disputes, dismissal disputes and reviews of CCMA awards.
- Acted for a company in the highly publicised “surplus stripping saga” of pension funds and procured a favourable settlement.
- Chambers and Partners consistently ranked Graham in Band 1 for Employment law for the past six consecutive years (2016 to 2021).
- Legal 500 consistently recommend Graham as a Leading Individual for Labour and Employment for the past five years (2017 to 2021) and ranked him in Tier 1 in 2015 and 2016 for the same category.
- Graham was recognised by Who’s Who Legal 2018 in the categories Employment & Benefits: Pensions & Benefits; and Employment & Benefits: Labour & Employment.
- Recognised by Best Lawyers 2017 for Employee Benefits Law and Labour and Employment Law.
“Graham Damant maintains a stellar reputation in the market for his employment expertise, enjoying considerable renown for his contentious work. He possesses extensive disputes experience covering issues such as wrongful dismissal, benefits and conditions of employment. He is additionally respected for his work on business transfers and restructuring.” – Chambers and Partners, 2021
“Graham Damant stands out in the industry for his expertise in pension issues, revered as a “great and well-respected employment lawyer.” In addition to his benefits disputes practice, he has capacity in transfers of business and restructuring. One client was exceptionally pleased that he “has been nothing short of super accommodating when it comes to understanding what we can afford and what we want to do.””– Chambers and Partners, 2020
“Graham Damant commands a distinguished reputation as a “direct, thoughtful, highly experienced and pragmatic” lawyer who provides “business-savvy solutions.” His aptitude for collective bargaining and strike management leads one source to claim that he is “the pre-eminent labour lawyer in the country.” He is also well versed in employee transfers and employee benefits issues.”– Chambers and Partners, 2019
Graham Damant is one of the most recognisable and respected names in the market, and widely thought of as “the number-one pensions lawyer in the country.” He also has significant experience in employment issues arising from corporate restructuring, executive dismissals and transfers of business. Career highlights include providing guidance on the drafting of South African labour legislation. – Chambers and Partners 2018
Graham Damant attracts praise from market commentators for his leading proficiency in this sector, with one source describing him as a “real doyen” of this space. Clients value his expertise in employee benefits concerns as he is recognised as a “real leader in the field when it comes to pension funds.” – Chambers and Partners 2017
“Graham Damant is described by his peers as “one of the doyens of employment law” and is particularly noted for his experience advising senior executives on complex employment mandates. Sources say: “He really is an impressive character and has been at the forefront of ideas in labour law.” – Chambers and Partners 2016
Publications & Insights
- South African Supreme Court of Appeal declares Regulation 35(4) invalid
- COVID-19: Revisiting the question: when can retrenchment processes start?
- COVID-19: FSCA gives financially distressed employers breathing space over fund contributions
- Executive share schemes and founder shares: The trend of increased malus and clawback
- Collective effort and culture change can curb violent strikes
- Unpacking the New Agreement on Collective Bargaining and Strikes
- A Review of Labour Law in 2014 – No Good News for Employers
- Unfair Dismissal – Operational Requirements
- Pension benefits and the employment contract
- The Pension Promise: Regulating Employer Conduct
- The Pension Promise: Pension Benefits and the Employment Contract