A recent Guimaraes Court of Appeal case examined the legality of an employer's decision to withdraw two public holidays from its employees. The court held that the granting of the public holidays to employees amounted to a binding employment practice, as it was general in character, fixed and constant. As a result, the court decided that the employer could not make a unilateral change to the practice that, because of its classification as a custom, had become binding.
A recent Supreme Court of Justice decision examined whether the payment due for the termination of an employment contract as a result of a collective dismissal following an employer's declaration of insolvency was a debt of the insolvent estate or the insolvent company. The court decided that the compensation awarded to the employee in the case at hand was a debt of the insolvent company and not the insolvent estate.
Recent changes to employment law have removed the obligation on unemployed people to present themselves at an employment exchange every two weeks in order to maintain their unemployment benefits. The changes have also introduced a system of personalised employment support, which involves integrated support for the recipients of unemployment benefits.
A recent Supreme Court of Justice decision evaluated the lawfulness of a dismissal resulting from an irregularity in the employee disciplinary proceedings due to a violation of the adversarial principle and the right to a defence in disciplinary proceedings. The court found that the person handling the proceedings had not presented her case regarding a request to provide evidence and declared the proceedings to be invalid.
Law 28/2016 recently introduced amendments to the Employment Code regarding the rules promoting health and safety at work and the operation and licensing of private placement and temporary employment agencies. Among other things, the changes increase the responsibility of employers in relation to temporary employment and the occasional provision of workers.
The Guimaraes Court of Appeal recently held that it was legal for an employer to obtain data using GPS equipment in order to check the number of kilometres actually travelled by an employee against the data provided by the employee. The court's decision was based on the fact that the employer had not engaged in remote surveillance in order to check the employee's professional performance, but rather the number of kilometres travelled.
In a recent judgment the Supreme Court of Justice held that an employer had demonstrated a breach of its duty to provide its employee with sufficient work, which had left him completely inactive for a number of years. The Supreme Court of Justice ordered the employer to pay the employee €50,000 as compensation for non-financial losses as a consequence of the psychological harassment it had inflicted on him.
In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court of Justice held that it was unlawful to dismiss a director in the context of a business reorganisation. The court found that the director's behaviour in humiliating, threatening and disrespecting colleagues and subordinates – which formed the basis of his dismissal – was not severe enough to justify his dismissal for just cause. However, the court decided not to enforce the employee's reinstatement.
The main recent legislative changes to Portuguese employment law include the re-establishment of the 2015 transitional rules on access to early retirement pensions; the creation of a reduced social security contribution rate for certain employers; the reinstatement of certain national holidays; and the raising of the normal age of access to retirement pensions for 2017.