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Portuguese Data Privacy Authority – Health data of employees (COVID-19)

The National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) published on its website an orientation dated 23 April on the collection of Employee’s Health Data.

Under the terms of the aforementioned guidelines, the employer cannot collect and record the workers’ body temperature or other information related to the health or possible risk behaviours of their employees. This prohibition includes any questionnaires on health data (existence of fever or other symptoms of infection) and the worker’s private life related to his health (contact with infected people, for instance).

Also according to the guidance, such data can only be collected by the occupational physician within the scope of their duties.

Thus, unless a new direction from the General Directorate of Health or a rule that is approved by the Government or Parliament, the adoption of these practices by the Employer will make them liable of an administrative offence.

The referred prohibition seemed to have been issued not taking into account the duties of the employer to protect the health of the employees and to prevent their exposure to biological risks.  Hence, in the impossibility to perform the controls by a health professional, we do not see how the referred duties could be discharged.

Ana Rita Paínho | arp@servulo.com

Rita Canas da Silva | rcs@servulo.com