Criminal proceedings relating to labour law

What are the specific characteristics of employment offence cases?

There are certain specific features of employment offence proceedings which make it advisable to consult a lawyer specialising in employment offences. For example, dealing with occupational health and safety violations requires not only knowledge of occupational health and safety law, but also knowledge of the relevant industry, employer practices and technology. Additionally, a special feature is the expert role of the occupational safety and health authority (Regional State Administrative Agency, RSA) in the pre-trial investigation. The Regional State Administrative Agency conducts accident investigations, prepares reports on harassment and bullying cases, and makes notifications to the police in certain situations.

Significant role of the attorney in the investigation phase

In employment offence cases, it is essential to initiate the investigation and build the defense at an early stage. The role of the attorney during the investigation phase of an occupational safety and health offence is first and foremost to ensure that the authorities have a correct understanding of what has happened and that the investigating authorities are provided with sufficient explanations as to how safety obligations are fulfilled.

The attorney can assist suspects during questioning, ask additional questions and thus ensure that all relevant facts are disclosed. In addition, the attorney, together with the client, will review the records of questioning made by the police before signing them. Incomplete explanations or a single incorrect statement can give a false picture of the case, which is why the records must be carefully checked. OHS legislation contains a lot of legal terminology, which increases the possibility of the police officer making inaccurate expressions. There is a risk that charges will be brought against the employer’s representatives on the basis of inadequate or false information.

In addition, in cases of employment offences, it is important to establish the correct scope of responsibilities at the investigation stage. What matters is the actual duties and powers, not the job title of the person. The construction sector in particular raises challenging issues, often relating to contracts and responsibilities between the different actors on a site.

Careful preparation for both the investigation by the authorities and the police questioning is essential. This will improve the chances of concluding the investigation at the investigation or prosecution stage without going to court and possibly facing criminal sanctions.

Our lawyers have extensive and wide-ranging experience in assisting clients in proceedings relating to employment offences. We assist clients both in responding to contacts from occupational health and safety authorities and in possible investigations and court proceedings, for example in cases concerning occupational health and safety violations.

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