Personality Rights in the New Portuguese Labour Code 

November, 2003 - Luís Sobral

From among the innovations brought by the Labour Code, noteworthy is the express recognition of what are known as “personality rights” set forth in Articles 15 to 21 of the Code. To be considered, however, is that our legal system has long acknowledged the existence of this category of rights, which characteristically encompass the vital aspects of human personality and are acquired at birth and, as such, classifies such rights as universal. In the Labour Code, the legislator chose to devote particular attention to freedom of expression and opinion, respect for the intimacy of private life, personal data protection and preservation of physical and moral integrity. In addition, the Code limits the possibility of the employer requiring that the employee or job applicant perform or produce medical tests and exams to evidence his/her physical or mental condition and using remote surveillance systems in the workplace and, among other measures, expressly protects the confidentiality of personal messages received and sent by electronic mail. The inclusion of personality rights in the Labour Code reveals the noteworthy concern of explicitly transposing matter of particular relevance in this domain into labour law, in terms of both the specificity of the work provision and the inherent possibility of restricting these rights within the scope of labour ties, for which appropriate legal treatment is recommended. Luís Sobral ([email protected])



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