Professional ban (Germany)

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An occupational ban is an order issued by a state body that prohibits a specific person or group of people from performing certain activities. This must be distinguished from the prohibition of employment , which  forbids an employer to employ an employee on a legal basis - usually for their protection .

In the legal parlance of the Federal Republic of Germany, an occupational ban is a legal consequence or measure of reform and protection from a conviction for a criminal offense. Occupational bans directly and directly intervene in the occupational freedom of Art. 12 GG . Interventions in the freedom of occupation require a legal basis.


  • A doctor can be prohibited from practicing the medical profession after serious failures (see licensing regulations ).
  • Lawyers need a license to work . This can be withdrawn from them by the competent bar association, especially in the event of over-indebtedness (financial collapse) and gross violations of professional law .
  • Courts can impose professional bans for serious crimes (example: a kindergarten teacher is convicted of child sexual abuse). The Federal Court has ruled in a judgment of 25 April 2013 that apply to a professional ban for first offenders particularly strict requirements.

In general usage in Germany, many people think of the word professional ban as a practice based on the radical decree of 1972. Citizens were not allowed to work in the civil service if they were close to an anti-constitutional organization. Although they were allowed to continue practicing their profession. But they hardly had the opportunity to do so when there were jobs almost exclusively in state institutions (for example for teachers). Under National Socialism, however, people who had been banned from working were not allowed to work in their profession.


German Confederation to Weimar Republic

The German Confederation (1815–1866) was a confederation of states that was supposed to guarantee the internal and external security of Germany. The federal law guaranteed no basic rights.

In the Frankfurt constitution of March 28, 1849, freedom of movement , freedom of occupation, freedom of emigration , confidentiality of letters , freedom of expression , freedom of the press , freedom of belief , freedom of conscience , freedom of assembly and the right to property were guaranteed. Although the constitution could not become legally effective, its basic rights part (Section VI, Sections 130–189) corresponded to the basic rights declared applicable by the Reich Law on the Basic Rights of the German People of December 27, 1848. The fundamental rights were of little practical importance, since the counter-revolution had strengthened again at this point and several member states of the German Confederation refused to publish the fundamental rights in their legal gazettes, which would have been necessary under federal law at the time for their entry into force. As early as August 1851, the Bundestag's catalog of fundamental rights was formally repealed in a federal reaction decision.

The constitution of the German Empire of 1871 , on the other hand, guaranteed only a few basic rights such as freedom of movement. It was not until the Weimar Imperial Constitution that a catalog of basic rights was given again and, as additional basic social rights, among other things, the basic duty and the basic right to work (Art. 163 WRV).

time of the nationalsocialism

Werner Liebenthal's Prussian notary's office on Martin-Luther-Strasse , Berlin 1933

During the time of National Socialism , numerous professional bans for political or ideological reasons were issued. There were also unspoken occupational bans. Jews and politically unpopular people were dismissed from civil service ( Professional Civil Service Act of April 7, 1933). The ordinance on the admission of doctors to work with the health insurance funds of April 22, 1933 initially revoked “ non-Aryan ” doctors and those who had “worked in the communist sense” of their medical license. The Editor Law (entered into force on 1 January 1934) wrote tasks of writing conductor ( editor , journalist ) firm and served as a DC circuit of the press in the German Reich. As a result of the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, Jews were no longer allowed to work as doctors or lawyers from 1938 at the latest .

Withdrawal of license to practice medicine for Jewish doctors, dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists

The “Fourth Ordinance to the Reich Citizenship Law” of July 25, 1938, expired the license to practice medicine for all Jewish doctors on September 30, 1938. The professional ban meant the end of their professional existence. 3,152 Jewish doctors were still living in Germany at that time. They were no longer allowed to call themselves a doctor. 709 Jewish doctors were given revocation and with police registration, to treat exclusively Jews as “ medical practitioners ”. The license to practice medicine was withdrawn from Jewish dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists on January 31, 1939 through the “Eighth Ordinance to the Reich Citizenship Law” of January 17, 1939 .

Professional ban for lawyers

The first boycott of Jews on April 1, 1933 was also directed against lawyers. The law on admission to the legal profession , which was soon passed , excluded Jewish lawyers unless they were protected by the so-called combatant privilege .

On September 27, 1938, a general ban on Jewish lawyers was issued.

In addition, z. B. Representation bans issued against politically unpleasant lawyers. For example, Erich Koch-Weser (his mother was Jewish) was banned from representation in April 1933 (even though the then Reich President Hindenburg had campaigned for Koch-Weser).

Work ban for artists

The President of the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts, Eugen Hönig , bans the Jew Heinz Buchholz from working (1935)

Numerous artists were banned from working by the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts , whose works the National Socialists did not like. Examples:

Occupation time

Under occupation law, professional bans were imposed on a large number of victims from the time of National Socialism. This was especially true for public sector employees. Job bans were an instrument of denazification . After 1945, for example, some film artists who had worked closely with the regime during National Socialism were banned from further activities in the film industry by the victorious powers after the Second World War .


In the GDR , the basic right to freedom of occupation was not guaranteed. The possibility of training (see Extended Oberschule # Educational Discrimination as an Instrument of Repression ) for the desired profession and exercising it could be forbidden in the case of political unreliability from the point of view of the rulers.

In addition, according to Section 53 of the Criminal Code, a “prohibition of certain activities” of one to five years could be imposed if the activity was used for a criminal offense or was related to it and the prohibition was considered necessary in the interests of society.

Withdrawal of license to practice medicine

If a doctor is guilty of behavior that makes him unreliable or unworthy of exercising the medical profession, his license to practice medicine can be withdrawn or revoked in accordance with Section 5 in conjunction with Section 3 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 No. 2 BÄO .

There is unreliability if the doctor does not offer the character guarantee for the proper exercise of the medical profession. You can u. a. from the lack of the quality of conscientiousness, e.g. B. in the case of alcohol or drug addiction or the recognizable tendency to disregard legal regulations, especially in the case of repeated criminal offenses in connection with the exercise of the profession.

Unworthiness to exercise the profession is to be assumed if the doctor no longer has the reputation and trust required to exercise the profession due to his behavior (e.g. through sexual abuse). Misconduct outside of the profession can also justify the revocation of the license to practice medicine because it is unworthy.

The same applies to dentists ( §§ 4, 2 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 No. 2 Law on the Practice of Dentistry ) and pharmacists.

Legal consequence

As a legal consequence, the professional ban always applies if the conviction is due to an insolvency offense ( Sections 283–283d StGB ). The management of a GmbH is then prohibited for five years.

The professional ban is imposed as a measure of measures if the unlawful act is an abuse of freedom of occupation and / or trade . According to §§ 70, 62 StGB, the prerequisite for the order is , in addition to abuse, a risk of repetition and the proportionality of the professional ban.

The order can be suspended on probation ( Section 70a StGB).

Duration of the legal consequence and violations

The professional ban ultimately means the prohibition of any professional exercise in the profession or trade for a maximum of five years. Only in exceptional cases is there no time limit to be provided.

The violation of the (criminal court) professional prohibition is a criminal offense, which can be punished according to § 145c StGB with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine .

Professional bans in the Federal Republic

In contrast to a very similar exclusive decree by Konrad Adenauer (1950), the so-called radical decree by Willy Brandt (1972) had a considerable national and international response. He was used to remove people from civil service or to deny them admission. These people were members of an organization that was legal and not "unconstitutional", but which was called "unconstitutional". Perhaps those affected were only close to the organization. The basis was the results of observation from intelligence services.

The "professional bans", as this practice was soon called in everyday life, were unique in the European Communities. Although it was said that they were directed against “radicals from left and right”, in fact they “almost exclusively” (Friedbert Mühldorfer) affected communists and other leftists such as social democratic members of the Socialist University Association (SHB). In Bavaria between 1973 and 1980, 102 applicants from the left spectrum were rejected, but only two from the right spectrum. The proponents opposed the use of the word “professional bans” because - as the Federal Constitutional Court lawyer and co-inventor of this practice Willi Geiger explained - it was “a catchphrase” that “should only arouse political emotions”.

Even if those affected were allowed to continue to practice their profession as such, the consequences could be similar to those of a professional ban. In some professions all or almost all jobs were in the public sector. This was especially true for teachers, since schools were almost always municipal and rarely private, as well as for postmen and railroad workers. The Bundesbahn and Bundespost were still state-run companies. National and international organizations and institutions such as the International Labor Organization or the European Court of Justice saw this as a violation of international law or a violation of the right to freedom of expression and association under the European Convention on Human Rights .

Brandt's decree was rejected as undemocratic, especially in France , where in 1972 the Socialist Party, the Communist Party and the Radical Left movement had just agreed on a common program for a future government. François Mitterrand , chairman of the French Socialist Party , co-founded the Comité français pour la liberté d'expression et contre les interdictions professionelles en RFA in 1976 . Further committees against the restriction of civil rights and liberties were formed. The word “professional bans” was adopted in French. Some observers in France feared that West Germany was falling back into traditional anti-democratic and authoritarian political patterns.

In 2016, Lower Saxony was the first state in the Federal Republic of Germany to decide to set up a commission “to review the fate of those affected by Lower Saxony's occupational bans and the possibilities of their political and social rehabilitation”. The state parliament decision was justified u. a. with the statement that the “occupational bans” are an inglorious chapter in the history of Lower Saxony.


  • Volker E. Wedekind: The reform of the professional prohibition under criminal law (§§ 70–70b StGB) . Dissertation. University of Tübingen 2006 ( full text )

Web links

Wiktionary: Professional ban  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Judgment of April 25, 2013, Az. 4 StR 296/12.
  2. ^ Fourth regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law. From July 25, 1938. In: , February 3, 2004.
  3. 70 years later: Withdrawal from medical school in 1938 . Hagalil
  4. ^ Heidrun Graupner: The entire health care of Jews cleaned . SZ, July 25, 1998.
  5. Eighth Ordinance to the Reich Citizenship Law (1939)
  6. Signs and posters demanded: Germans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from (m) Jews! - The Jews are our misfortune! - Avoid Jewish doctors! - Don't go to Jewish lawyers! In: Klaus W. Tofahrn: Chronology of the Third Reich . Primus Verlag, Darmstadt 2003, ISBN 3-89678-463-3 , p. 23.
  7. ^ Fifth ordinance to the Reich Citizenship Act of September 27, 1938
  8. ^ Volker Reissmann: Braune, Heinrich . In: Franklin Kopitzsch, Dirk Brietzke (Hrsg.): Hamburgische Biographie . tape 2 . Christians, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 3-7672-1366-4 , pp. 66-67 .
  9. ^ Danuta Kneipp: Occupational bans in the GDR? On the practice of politically motivated professional exclusion in East Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s. In: Potsdam Bulletin for Contemporary History Studies. No. 36–37 / 2006, p. 32 ff., ( Memento from February 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 61 kB)
  10. RdErl. D. Ministry of Health, Emancipation, Care and Old Age NRW for the implementation of the Federal Doctors 'Ordinance, the Federal Pharmacists' Ordinance and the Law on the Practice of Dentistry of July 20, 2012; B 1.3
  11. RdErl. D. Ministry of Health, Emancipation, Care and Old Age NRW for the implementation of the Federal Doctors 'Ordinance, the Federal Pharmacists' Ordinance and the Law on the Practice of Dentistry of July 20, 2012; B 1.2
  12. Wolfgang Bittner: Unconstitutional hostility to disposition. In: Manfred Funke (Ed.): Extremism in the democratic constitutional state . Federal Agency for Civic Education , Bonn 1978.
  13. Roland Seim: Between media freedom and censorship intervention - A media and legal sociological investigation of censorship measures to influence German popular culture . Dissertation. Münster 1997, p. 205.
  14. German Historical Museum : BRD - "Radical Decree" (PDF)
  15. ^ Friedbert Mühldorfer: radical decree. In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria. see: .
  16. Federal Constitutional Court, decision of May 22, 1975 - 2 BvL 13/73, Rn 113, online at openJur
  17. ^ Otto Köhler : Professional ban. No pardon is given. How Lower Saxony's judiciary removed a teacher from school service. In: The time. November 24, 1989.
  18. Gerhard Stuby : The recommendations of the ILO committee of inquiry on the practice of occupational bans. Oldenburg 1988, see: ; Friedbert Mühldorfer: Radical Decree. In: Historical Lexicon of Bavaria. see: .
  19. Lucie Filipová: Hope fulfilled. Town twinning as an instrument of Franco-German reconciliation 1950–2000. Göttingen 2015, p. 192.
  20. Dirk Petter: On the way to normality. Conflict and Understanding in Franco-German Relations in the 1970s. Munich 2014, p. 223 f .; Dominik Rigoll : “Herr Mitterrand doesn't understand that.” “Rule of law” and “German special path” in the Franco-German disputes over the radical decision 1975/76. In: Detlef Georgia Schulze, Sabine Berghahn , Frieder Otto Wolf : Rule of law instead of revolution, juridification instead of democracy? Transdisciplinary analyzes on the German way into modernity. Volume 2: The Legal Consequences. Münster 2010, pp. 812–822.
  21. Carmen Böker: France - Le Kärcher, c'est moi! In: Berliner Zeitung. January 13, 2010.
  22. Trade union statements: .
  23. Resolution proposal: (PDF)