The Labor Department (DT) has recently issued an opinion banning companies from using signal inhibitors or blockers that interfere with the communications of workers’ mobile phones at their jobs.
The doctrine in this respect was fixed by the ordinary 2315/54 that responds to a query on if it is possible that a company install devices that block cellular signals of the workers inside the company.
The pronouncement of the DT concludes that companies “can not interfere, intercept or interrupt the signal of workers’ cell phones inside the company”.
To conclude, the DT is based on constitutional, labor and international standards, whose joint understanding is an active defense and promoter of the fundamental rights of workers, in this case, their dignity.
The Article 19, number 5, of the State Political Constitution guarantees to all “the inviolability of the home and all forms of private communication, linking it with article 5 of the Labor Code, which said that “The exercise of the powers that the law recognizes to the employer has as limit the respect to the constitutional guarantees of the workers, especially when they could affect the privacy, the privacy or the honor of these”.
Internationally, the ruling includes the provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Both instruments affirm that “no one can be subject to arbitrary or illegal interference in his private life, his family, his address or correspondence.”
For DT, the term “correspondence” should be understood as a form of written communication, given the time when these international treaties were elaborated, and also because both standards protect fundamental rights and “must be interpreted broadly, understanding that the protection it contemplates the correspondence concept of all forms of communication.”
It also recalls an opinion of 2002 that includes what was said by the jurist José Luis Cea that the inviolability of private communications covers the epistolary, telephone, audiovisual and even electronic mail, “provided they are not open to the public”.
The DT maintains that for the validity of the privacy protection the communication must be a private act between determined or determinable persons victim of an unlawful or arbitrary intrusion in communications.
In the specific case, the TD also required a technical pronouncement from the undersecretary of Telecommunications.
In its response, the undersecretary reported that “so-called jammers”, consist of radio devices that produce an intentional interference or disturbance of a communication, in order to avoid exchange of information between two or more parties, thus not allowing the curse of calls or data transfers, such as messaging services, Internet access or similar. ”
Even Law 18,168 General of Telecommunications criminally penalizes the unauthorized interferences, interceptions, interruptions or abstractions of a telecommunications service.
In this way, the opinion of the DT concludes, “the installation of devices that interfere, intercept or interrupt any form of communication that workers have in the orbit of their private life inside the company, not only constitutes a violation of rights but also constitutes a crime of public criminal action.”