COVID-19: The Portuguese Data Protection Authority issued guidelines on the collection of employees' health data
Data Protection Alert Portugal
The Portuguese Data Protection Authority issued guidelines(available solely in Portuguese) on the collection of employees' health data by the employer in the context of the infection prevention by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, in which it clarified that:
the processing of health data in the work context can only occur in accordance with Portuguese law and therefore in the context of occupational health;
the employer cannot, even in the context of the infection prevention by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, carry out acts which, in accordance with Portuguese law, can only be carried out by health authorities or by the employee himself and therefore it cannot collect and record the body temperature of its employees or ask them for other information relating to their health or possible risk behaviour;
it is only permitted that the occupational health physician evaluates, with the frequency and types of assessment he deems appropriate, the health status of employees and their working capacity, in accordance with the Portuguese law on safety and health at work, and adopts the appropriate procedures to safeguard the health of workers and third parties in case he identifies employees with symptoms or in another situation that justifies it;
the occupational health physician may, during the period of progressive end of confinement and return to work and through questionnaires completed by employees, collect information on their health or aspects of their private life related to their health (e.g. if they have been in contact with contaminated persons), provided that this is aimed at adopting appropriate procedures for safeguarding the health of these employees and third parties.