IUSLabor 2/2018 Milena Rouxinol
LABOR IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGICAL DEVICES IN PORTUGAL
Assistant professor, Portuguese Catholic University – Oporto School
The main regulatory source regarding the issues arising from the use of technological
devices on labour relations is the Portuguese Labour Code, which includes a chapter
[articles 14-22] dedicated to personal rights, namely those put in danger due to the use
of such technological tools. As for collective agreements, these issues are not a typical
subject therein regulated.
1. Is there any regulation in your country regarding employees’ use of
technological devices in the company?
The Portuguese Labour Code dedicating some dispositions to personal rights implicated
in labour relationships, its article 22 concerns, in particular, employees’ personal
communications and information, namely those sent, received or consulted by means of
electronic devices, as electronic mail systems. Article 22 provides that employers can
define rules to be accomplished in the company in what concerns the use of
communication tools, namely the email (22-2), but also that employees have the right of
keeping their personal communications and information not disclosed (22-1).
Portuguese case law has been stressing that even if the electronic devices belong to the
employer and even if the email account is provided by him, he is not allowed to access
personal electronic contents in any circumstances.
2. Is it mandatory for the company to have a code of conduct or an internal policy
regulating the use technological devices? If not, what is the procedure that the
company must follow to regulate the use of technological devices?
According to the Portuguese Labour Code, the employer is entitled to define rules
concerning the use of technological devices. For example, employers may establish that
a professional email account shall not be used for personal effects or that some
electronic sites shall not be visited during working time. However, this is not
mandatory. If the company defines such rules, employers have the right to verify their
accomplishment, as far as they do not access personal contents.
As the establishment of conduct patterns is not mandatory, if employers decide to define
rules, they may use the means of their choice and convenience. The creation of an