Johan Lubbe is consistently recognized as a leading international employment lawyer. In 2017 and again in 2018, Who's Who Legal recognized Johan as the foremost Thought Leader in employment law in the U.S. (In both years he was ranked as #1 out of a select group of leading thought leaders in employment and labor law.) Johan has been described as “one of the nation’s most prominent employment lawyers,” “a go-to name on cross-border issues,” “esteemed within the marketplace,” and “highly regarded for his work in supply-chain management and data privacy matters on a global scale and is well known for his ability to handle complex and sensitive matters.”

Johan provides strategic advice and counseling to multinational employers on a wide range of global employment law, labor relations – including issues related to global supply chain management, international labor standards compliance, human resources, and data privacy matters. He regularly advises foreign companies doing business in the U.S. on the requirements of U.S. workplace law and labor relations issues. Johan represents companies in various industries including airlines, banking, engineering, financial services, high tech, manufacturing, oil and gas, nonprofits and retail. He is a frequent speaker on workplace law and data privacy issues and the author of numerous publications.

In June 2013, Johan testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about labor issues in Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza building collapse. He has advised the retail industry regarding the European labor union Accord and the American Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

Johan has guided U.S. multinational employers on the intricacies and compliance requirements of multiple-jurisdiction employment and labor law matters, such as:

  • Global mobility policies and secondment agreements
  • Global employee handbooks, codes of conduct, hotlines and HR policies, including anti-bribery
  • Multi-country audits of workplace laws and practices, and strategic compliance advice
  • Executive hiring and employment contracts, terminations and related negotiations
  • Data privacy laws affecting global Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) and other cross-border HR data transmissions
  • Employment and labor law issues pertaining to cross-border mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, reductions-in-force, and office closings, including information and consultation obligations with employee representatives and works councils 
  • Cross-border trade union matters, including corporate campaigns and complaints with the OECD
  • Global supply chain management and compliance

Johan frequently represents employers in proceedings in court, government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Labor Relations Board, concerning discrimination, whistleblowing, retaliation, non-compete and unfair labor practice matters. He also represents employers in arbitration hearings involving “just cause” discharges under collective bargaining agreements with unions and the termination of executives under employment contracts. He counsels employers regarding compliance with their obligations under the array of workplace laws.

Originally from South Africa, Johan previously practiced law there and is fluent in Afrikaans. He continues to collaborate with attorneys in South Africa as well as other African nations, to provide multinational clients with a single point of contact for assistance with labor and employment matters on the continent.

Professional & Community Affiliations

Past Chairperson

Employment and Industrial Relations Law Committee

International Bar Association (IBA)

Chairperson of Board

Cross-Border Human Resources (XBHR)


Named, The Best Lawyers in America®


Named, Who's Who in American Law


Named, International Who's Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers

Who's Who Legal


Named, Management Labour and Employment

Who's Who Legal


Named, Labour and Employee Benefits Cross-border Handbook

Practical Law Company


Named, Guide to the World’s Leading Labour and Employment Lawyers



Named, Super Lawyer

New York

Super Lawyers


Recipient, Fulbright Scholarship

Cornell University

Books & Book Chapters

  • The new EU’s general data protection regulation – Is your company ready?, Global HR Practitioner Handbook, Lisbeth Claus, Editor-in-Chief, 2018
  • Labour Law, Globe Business and Law, 2011
  • International Labor and Employment Laws, Bloomberg BNA, 4th edition, Chapter Author, 2014
  • Business Transfers and Employee Rights, McMullen, J., Butterworths, Chapter Author, 2005


  • LL.M., University of Leicester, 2005
  • M.I.L.R., Cornell University, 1988
  • LL.M., Cornell University, 1987
  • LL.B., University of the Free State, South Africa, 1982
  • B.Comm., University of the Free State, South Africa, 1979


  • Afrikaans

Bar Admission

New York


  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • New York Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York