Employers in Portugal: information on discrimination

Duties of employers

In order to avoid discrimination, employers are required to:

  • display in an appropriate location information on the rights and obligations of workers regarding equality and non-discrimination, including information on parental rights
  • keep recruitment records for 5 years
  • enable the reintegration of all workers who have taken parental leave, and of all persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses
  • analyse the specific nature of the work carried out by pregnant employees
  • notify CITE (Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment), within 5 business days, of the non-renewal of a pregnant employee’s fixed-term employment contract
  • provide everyone with favourable working conditions, in particular with regard to setting working hours which allow a good work/life balance
  • make arrangements to enable workers to attend a course of study
  • where possible, allow work shifts to be set in accordance with the workers’ preferences
  • request a prior opinion from CITE where grounds for any decision are required, within the legal deadline.

Further information on the rights and obligations of employers can be found at http://cite.gov.pt/pt/acite/direitosdeveresentempr.html.

Obligations of employers

The employer must request a prior opinion, within the legal deadline, if the employer denies a worker’s request to work on a part-time or flexitime basis, when the worker in question has family obligations.

If the employer intends to dismiss, in any form, an employee who is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breastfeeding, or an employee who is on parental leave, the employer must request a prior opinion from CITE.

The following must be communicated to the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment (CITE):

  • The termination of an employment contract during the probationary period in the case of an employee who is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breastfeeding, or an employee on parental leave, within five working days of the termination date
  • The reason for not renewing the fixed-term employment contract of an employee who is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breastfeeding, or an employee on parental leave, at least five working days before the notice of dismissal.

For more information on the subject of gender equality at work, you can request legal assistance in person, by telephone and in writing.

Employees and job seekers in Portugal: information on discrimination

The Portuguese State must ensure the right to equality and non-discrimination for all workers and job seekers, in the public and private sectors.

Support available to the public

You can request legal assistance in person, by telephone and in writing.

Right to equality and non-discrimination

All workers or job applicants have the right to be treated equally by the law and have the right to protection against discrimination of any kind in the access to opportunities, training, promotion and working conditions, making it impossible for them to benefit from, be disadvantaged by or be deprived of any right they may have.

Discriminatory labour practices

A worker who feels discriminated is entitled to compensation for material and non-material damage, under general law.

CITE is responsible for:

  • Communicating to the competent inspection body the opinions of the Commission which indicate or reflect discriminatory labour practices
  • Carrying out visits to workplaces to find evidence of any discriminatory practices
  • Keeping records of judicial decisions and providing information on the recording of any final judgement not subject to further appeal.

Important: A pregnant or breastfeeding employee has the right to request an immediate inspection from the entity responsible for these issues, if the employer does not comply with its obligations regarding the protection of the employee’s health and safety.

Discrimination is understood to be:

  • Unfavourable treatment, compared to how another person is treated
  • Seemingly neutral treatment, although it places the person at a disadvantage compared with another person (except if this is objectively justified for a legitimate purpose and the respective resources are adjusted and necessary).

Harassment in the workplace

What is harassment? Of a moral or sexual nature? What do these behaviours entail?

Harassment is considered to be any type of discriminatory and offensive attitude, gesture, word or other, carried out when seeking employment or at the workplace, with the aim of disturbing the individual through intimidation and affecting their behaviour.

There is also sexual harassment, which is characterised by malicious behaviour of a sexual or verbal nature, which has degrading effects on the individual and their surroundings (for example sexual invitations, sending sexual messages, attempting unwanted physical contact, among others).

Equal pay for men and women

All workers in Portugal must enjoy equal rights, regardless of gender, in particular regarding pay or remuneration for their work. . Leave, absence or exemptions relating to protection during parenthood may not justify differences in employee pay or remuneration.

Working conditions

Working conditions should be based on the principles of the concepts of equal work and equal value:

  • The concept of equal work refers to equal or similar roles carried out within the same organisation
  • The concept of work of equal value provides that the roles carried out at the service of the same employer are equivalent, taking into account the required qualification or experience, assigned responsibilities, physical and psychological effort and conditions in which the work is carried out. This concept also provides for equal pay or remuneration.

More information on workers’ rights and obligations can be found on the CITE website.

Fixed-term contracts, permanent contracts and other contractual arrangements: equal conditions between employees

Regardless of the nature of the contract, all workers are entitled to equal access to employment, work and vocational training in relation to the following:

  • Selection criteria and conditions of employment, at all hierarchical levels
  • Access to all types of vocational guidance, training and professional retraining
  • Remuneration and other benefits or pay, promotion to all hierarchical levels and criteria for the selection/dismissal of employees
  • Membership or participation in collective representation structures, or in any other organisation whose members pursue a particular profession, including the benefits attributed by them
  • Legal provisions for carrying out the professional activity in cases where the employee is a foreigner or a refugee
  • Provisions relating to the safeguarding of genetic assets, pregnancy, parenting, adoption and other situations relating to the work/life balance.