Author(s) Ana Catarina Almeida Loureiro
Advisor(s) Maria Irene da Silva Ferreira Gomes
Synopsis In this dissertation, we intend to draw an analysis about the lawfulness of the evidence obtained by electronic devices and used in disciplinary procedure, aimed at applying a dismissal sanction and, eventually, in the legal action of impeachment of that same dismissal’s regularity and lawfulness. In fact, it is obvious that more than any other private legal relation, the employment contract emerges as an unbalanced structure, through which the employee delivers part of his availability to someone else, who exerts on him authority powers as far as terms and conditions of his labour activity are concerned. This means that, inside the labour relation, the employee’s personal life and, therefore, privacy, may be affected, or at least may be relegated to a second plan as a consequence of his professional life. In reality, the employer, through his labour activity direction power, can intrude the employee’s privacy sphere, namely by using, in the workplace, technological means such as video monitoring or software programmes to control the use of e-mail and Internet. However, all information retrieved by such technological means may reveal some unlawful employee’s behaviours, so a problem is born: is it likely to the employer to use those information as piece of evidence to justify the application of a disciplinary sanction, maxime, the employee’s dismissal, and, in this case, use this exact same evidence as grounds for such decision, in the legal action of impeachment of that dismissal’s regularity and lawfulness. Thus, and without ever disregarding the proportionality principle, we have to ask if under some circumstances, the casuistic suppression of the employee’s rights in which his privacy is founded, may be justified regarding the employer’s interests that prove themselves to be superior.
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