Expert team

Employee Data Protection
and Work 4.0

Work 4.0, new work, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are keywords that have pervaded economic and working life in the past few years. Increasing digitalization creates new opportunities as well as risks that extend past the scope of standard labor law. Our team of experts is happy to support you in working out feasible and sustainable solutions for the digitalized workplace of today and tomorrow.

Digital Transformation Requires a New Work Culture

Digital transformation is in full swing in the workplace. The foreseeable future of HR departments will be characterized by topics that are already apparent today such as mobile work, digital co-determination and data protection, as well as by less tangible aspects like the use of AI.
The introduction of artificial intelligence in human resources work is tied to the hope of finding the objectively most suitable candidate without the decision-making process being affected by human bias. However, the use of such applications is subject to strict legal requirements, for example in the areas of data protection and anti-discrimination law. In addition, it raises several ethical questions: How much control over decision-making can and should humans give up? How transparent must such procedures be? At the same time, the legal and ethical framework should not hamper innovation.

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However, work 4.0 also represents a new way of looking at work processes and an adjustment of previous hierarchies and structures. The umbrella term “new work” covers a wide range of topics, from agile forms of working to sustainable development (corporate social responsibility). Naturally, case law and legislation cannot keep pace with this rapid development, resulting in a large number of legally unresolved issues when it comes to implementation. We offer comprehensive advice and counsel that is not limited to issues of labor and data protection law. In addition, we always keep strategic aspects in mind and consider practical feasibility.

Mobile Work

Nowadays, mobile work has become an integral part of day-to-day business operations. The flexible models introduced in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to remain permanently, which means that they will continue to pose labor law challenges in the future.
Many businesses regularly have to deal with the challenge of reconciling the desire for more flexibility with the applicable legal requirements. We will help you to overcome this challenge and guide you through the complex network of labor law, data protection and occupational health. This includes, for example, the requirements under individual or collective labor law for the introduction of mobile work, existing liability risks, admissible supervision options and questions regarding accident insurance coverage.

Data protection compliance

All aspects of digital transformation give rise to more or less complex data protection issues and compliance requirements. Large volumes of personal employee data are processed if a business uses personnel management systems, office programs or AI applications. Complying with the legal data protection standards is a basic requirement for taking advantage of the new digital opportunities.
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Legally compliant processing of personal data is essential in order to avoid the threat of sensitive monetary fines or damage claims in the event of data protection breaches. Equally, data protection law cannot be permitted to inhibit innovation. In order to ensure that both of these very different aspects are brought to bear in practice, we offer comprehensive consultation on all issues regarding employee data protection, starting with an audit of processes to look for data protection risks and extending to introducing IT systems and negotiating relevant works agreements. We not only offer impartial legal expertise, we also have the requisite technical background (working in cooperation with IT service providers where necessary).

Digital co-determination

Digitalization also affects co-determination in the workplace. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, German legislators recently permitted digital works council meetings. As part of the German Act on Works Council Modernization (Betriebsrätemodernisierungsgesetz), the works council is granted further rights regarding the issues of introducing artificial intelligence and is entitled to call in an IT expert.
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Further legislative stimuli are to be expected in the future too, which will aim to adapt the works constitution to these changed circumstances. In any case, comprehensive co-determination rights are already in place for the works council when IT tools and software solutions are introduced in a company. If it is technically possible to carry out monitoring, then this is sufficient to assert co-determination rights. Frequently, data protection issues also come up in this context, and we can also provide you with comprehensive advice on these matters.

Unsere Experten, Ihre Ansprechpartner

Dr. Thomas

Dr. Michel
Hoffmann, LL.B.


We help to shape digital transformation!

An open, transparent and targeted process is necessary in order to ensure that digital transformation is characterized by opportunities and creative possibilities instead of concerns and fears. As our experience from many projects shows, involving employees in digital transformation at an early stage is a key factor in its successful implementation.

For more information on upcoming events and participation opportunities,

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