Employee misconduct results in increasing risks for employers. Reasons for this include the tightening of legal regulations (whistleblower protection, the German Supply Chain Act, GDPR, etc.), and continuing legislative efforts. In addition, companies are being investigated more often by the authorities and compliance requirements are becoming tougher. Cases of suspicion and investigations of criminal and administrative offences are no longer a rarity.
Avoiding cost risks and reputational damage
If violations are committed by a company’s employees or if the company itself is the victim of unlawful acts, its public reputation can be damaged and it faces a considerable cost risk, for example in the form of sometimes drastic fines. Cooperation and consensus with the authorities has been shown to significantly mitigate both risks.
Even in the case of misconduct by individual employees, the company itself may be held liable under civil law and criminal or regulatory law. Management’s due diligence obligations also often result in a duty to investigate the facts. Failing to conduct an internal investigation can in itself constitute misconduct.
Comprehensive internal investigations
Our Internal Investigations team works closely with our clients to clarify the facts of the case and provide advice at all stages of investigations. We can advise on both defense and prevention. Together with clients, we create communication strategies to prevent or minimize reputational damage.
In complex cases, defense work often focuses on clarifying the facts in order to be able to work on an equal footing with the investigating authorities and to speed up the investigations. Once we have detailed knowledge of the company, we can identify any exonerating circumstances.
Our expertise includes:
- Determining the facts by means of employee interviews and e-discovery
- Carrying out on-site inspections and reviewing the facts to identify any violation of the law
- Securing usable evidence
- Representing clients before law enforcement agencies
Advantages of a tax-focused approach
Where violations have occurred, the authorities regularly make subsequent tax adjustments. This is where clients benefit from Flick Gocke Schaumburg’s tax-focused approach.
Conducting employee interviews and accessing employees’ email accounts give rise to many questions relating to data privacy and labor law. Our interdisciplinary advice covers these areas as well (obligations to participate in interviews, duties of notification, collection of personal data).
In addition, we advise clients on how they can prevent future legal violations by improving their compliance management systems.