Fellow Prof. Dr. Karl Riesenhuber

Karl Riesenhuber
Prof. Dr. Karl Riesenhuber

Ruhr-University Bochum

  Fellow at CAIS from October 2019 to March 2020


European labour law and the challenges of digitalization

EU legislation in the field of labour law dates largely from before digitalization conquered the economy, the labour market, and society as a whole. This research project focuses on how existing regulation meets the requirements of the digital economy, and what regulations are still required. A good example here is the transparency directive.

Directive 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions is one of the first legal acts to address the new requirements resulting from digitalization. As a successor to the 1991 information directive, the transparency directive initially contains provisions regarding information. New to the 2019 directive, however, are minimum requirements on working conditions, which serve primarily to regulate new and atypical employment relationships. The central regulatory problem identified by the legislator is therefore the uncertainty and lack of predictability of working conditions, with the EU legislator relying primarily on information as a protective instrument, and determining only individual external limits when it comes to the contractual agreement.

Unlike the Commission draft, the transparency directive adopted does not contain a definition of the term “employee”. The regulation indicates the boundary between employees and self-employed persons in only a rudimentary way. However, the way that the boundary is drawn has taken on a new practical significance in the digital world of work, and especially in the platform economy.

Main Research Topics
  • Civil law
  • German and European labour, company and copyright law
  • Methodology
Curriculum Vitae
  • Born in 1967
  • 1990: 1st state examination in law, University of Freiburg
  • 1991: Master of Comparative Jurisprudence, University of Texas at Austin
  • 1994: 2nd state examination in law, Berlin
  • 1997: Doctorate (Dr. iur.), University of Potsdam
  • 2000-01: Assistant Lecturer at Cambridge University
  • 2002: Postdoctorate (Habilitation), University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • 2007-08, 2010-11: Visiting Scholar at the University of California at Berkley
  • 2014: Visiting Professor at Duke University
  • 2004-06: Professor at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)
  • Since 2006: Professor at the University of Bochum, Chair for Civil Law, German and European Commercial and Economic Law