Criminal labor law and criminal labor protection law

Criminal labor and occupational health and safety law includes all types of conduct in the workplace that can result in a criminal offense or an administrative offense. In practice, both areas of the law have gained considerably in importance in recent years due to numerous legislative changes and increasing criminal prosecution. Due to its relevance for companies and the respective responsible persons (bodies with representational authorization as well as management representatives), criminal occupational health and safety law makes up a large part of white-collar criminal law. High-profile measures such as searches can be associated with considerable damage to the company’s reputation. In addition to criminal risks, there is also a risk of high fines, which in the worst-case scenario could threaten the existence of the company.

The legal situation is confusing, and the relevant regulations can be found not only in the penal code, but also in various ancillary laws, such as:

  • Withholding and misappropriating social security contributions (Section 266a StGB),
  • Violations of the occupational safety regulations (ArbSchG) in connection with the specific occupational safety regulations, such as BaustellV, ArbStättV, BetrSichV, GefStoffV
  • Violations of working hours regulations (ArbZG),
  • Posting of workers and temporary workers (AentG and AÜG),
  • Illegal employment of foreign nationals (Section 10, 10a SchwarzArbG),
  • Violation of minimum wage laws (Section 20, 21 MiLoG)
  • Violation of supervisory duties by those responsible for the company (Section 130 OWiG).


The constant changes in the legal situation require extensive knowledge and further training not only in core criminal law, but also in the ancillary areas of criminal law.

In addition, experience in dealing with other bodies, such as health insurance companies, customs, professional associations and technical expertise is required. In criminal labor protection law, criminal liability is often linked to the question of whether the company has complied with regulations with a view to the current state of technology and science.

Due to our defense of numerous companies, employees at the management level and other employees, as well as our continuous training, our attorneys have the necessary expertise to handle your defense optimally.

Allegations against employers

In practice, employers are often accused of violating the Minimum Wage Act, the Illicit Labor Act or the prohibition of foreigners to work. Even the appearance of rule violations can lead to unannounced audits by the customs office or even to extensive search measures.

The area of labor and criminal labor protection law also includes allegations made against employers in connection with accidents at the workplace. Liability can be prevented through proper operational organization and compliance with the current state of technology and science as well as accident prevention regulations. Due to the constantly changing legal situation, the duties of the employer are difficult to understand in individual cases.

Violations can lead to criminal or fine proceedings for managers and senior employees. In this event, those affected face severe fines, fees and imprisonment. In addition, the company faces the threat of being deprived of assets and fines of up to 10 million euros (Section 30 OWiG).

Allegations against employees

In addition to the employer, it is not uncommon for investigating authorities to target employees.

The investigative proceedings against employees are often based on an allegation under property law. If actions by the employee affect the employer’s or a third party’s assets, fraud or breach of trust (Sections 263, 266 of the Criminal Code) may be suspected. While the employee faces severe fines and imprisonment, the employer must generally decide whether to file a criminal complaint.

The right defense strategy is crucial!

In labor and criminal health and safety law proceedings, experience and expertise are of paramount importance for the right defense strategy. The employer in particular is often accused of having violated several regulations.

In addition to the immediate defense, the possible consequences of the proceedings for the company also have to be considered. In the area of criminal occupational health and safety law, knowledge not only of technical aspects but also of the company’s organization is necessary, in particular the delegation of duties and tasks within company structures.
The attorneys at H2W Criminal Law have for many years successfully defended companies, board members, managing directors and employees at the management level who are exposed to allegations under labor law.