Remedies and enforcement

AuthorLopes, Dulce; Vicente, Joana
6.1 Judicial and/or administrative procedures (Article 7 Directive 2000/43,
Article 9 Directive 2000/78)
a) Available procedures for enforcing the principle of equal treatment
In Portugal, the following procedures exist for enforcing the principle of equal treatment:
Control of constitutionality procedure
Every court has jurisdiction to apply the principle of equality. Furthermore, the courts may
not apply norms that contravene this principle (Article 204 of the Constitution). The refusal
to apply any norm on the grounds of its unconstitutionality or the application of a norm
whose unconstitutionality has been raised during the proceedings may be the subject of
an appeal to the Constitutional Court against court decisions (Article 280(1) of the
Labour courts procedures (for private sector)
Specialised labour courts (Tribunais do Trabalho) deal with discrimination in employment
in the private sector. They are part of the general judicial system but deal only with labour
law cases concerning employment relationships, work-related accidents and illness,
appeals against fines and disputes concerning social security rights. They deal with all
questions arising from the drafting, execution and termination of employment contracts.
These courts also deal with appeals regarding sanctions imposed by administrative
agencies for non-compliance with employment laws.
Alternative disputes resolution in labour law (private sector)
No specific procedures for mediation in relation to discrimination are provided for in the
Labour Code. However, the rules for the labour courts make it mandatory for the judge
presiding over a case to hold at least one conciliation conference between the parties before
trial, and require the courts to try to mediate in any labour dispute coming under their
jurisdiction (Articles 32(2), 36(2), 51(1), 51(2), 55(2) and 70(1) of the Labour Procedure
Code the code containing the rules of procedure for labour issues in accordance with
Decree-Law 480/99 of 9 November 1999 (as amended by Decree-Law 323/2001 of 17
December 2001, Decree-Law 38/2003 of 8 March 2003, Decree-Law 259/2009 of 13
October 2009 and Law 63/2013 of 27 August 2013).84 Mediation by labour courts is
Article 492(2)(f) of the Labour Code also states that collective agreements should include
mechanisms for conciliation (Articles 523 et seq.), mediation (Articles 526 et seq.) and
arbitration (Articles 529 and 506 to 511) in labour disputes.
Racial discrimination is subject to disciplinary measures and the sanctions may go as far
as dismissal. However, victims have no right to intervene in the disciplinary procedure.
They have the right to file a complaint with the labour courts and to give evidence or to
present witnesses.
Administrative procedures and administrative courts (for the public sector)
For public employees, the law provides a system of internal (hierarchical) administrative
appeals that, once exhausted, allows public employees to challenge final decisions taken
84 Labour Procedure Code (Código de Processo do Trabalho), available at:

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