Work in the Digital Era – Legal Challenges

5 – 7 May 2021


Work in the Digital Era – Legal Challenges

XIII European Regional Congress of the
International Society for Labour and Social Security Law


5-7 May 2021



To date, we have lived in a world where the centrality of work – human labour and paid employment – was undisputed. But new phenomena are challenging and developing at an unprecedented and vertiginous scale: the fourth industrial revolution, industry 4.0, digitalisation, robotics, algorithms and Artificial Intelligence…

In fact, we are now living in a Digital Era. What sort of impacts will the new era have on human labour and paid employment? The 9 to 5 workday tradition has been stroke by industry 4.0 and is suffering considerable erosion, and work is no longer a place to go to but rather a task to fulfil, demanding a “permanently available” worker or employee to complete it. Which consequences and challenges arise from this new paradigm to the employee’s health and safety? Do employees have a right to “disconnect”?

Work performed through digital platforms (e.g. apps) and the so-called “sharing economy” are among us, probably weakening dependent or employed work (a typical example being Uber and similar transport services).

Robotics recent and amazing development announces the downturn of human work once it is said that automation and robots (especially collaborative robots or “cobots”) will render human work unnecessary, as it will be replaced by automatic processes; will this be the end of Employment Law?

In respect of the right to privacy, will it survive in this new world? What sort of personal data protection will there be in this new Digital Era? What consequences will this all have on the traditional principles of equality and non-discrimination? And how will this impact Social Security? Is Trade Unionism prepared to respond to the demands of the Digital Era? And will collective bargaining survive and adapt?

These and many other related questions are becoming burning issues every day, at a global scale. These will be the problems and challenges to discuss in the congress to be held in 2020, subject to the axial theme “Work in the Digital Era – Legal Challenges”.

You may find below a (still provisional) program of this congress

Provisional Program

May 5


11h30 (Lisbon Time) – Young Scholars meeting
12h00 (Lisbon Time) – ISLSSL Executive Commitee meeting, chaired by Janice Bellace and Giuseppe Casale



16h30 (Lisbon Time) – Opening Ceremony

  • Dra. Ana Mendes Godinho (Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security)
  • Prof. Doutor António Cruz Serra (Dean of Universidade de Lisboa)
  • Janice Bellace (President ISLSSL)

  • Prof.ª Doutora Maria do Rosário Palma Ramalho (President of the Labour Law Portuguese Association and Full Professor of Universidade de Lisboa)
  • Prof.ª Paula Vaz Freire (Dean of the Lisbon Law Faculty)


17h00(Lisbon Time) – 1st Plenary Session (round table):

Artificial Intelligence And Human Work: What Lies Ahead?

Chair: Janice Bellace (President ISLSSL)

  • Digital work vs. new forms of entrepreneurial organizationCarlos Moedas (Former European Commissioner, Portugal)
  • New perspectives on Artificial Intelligence and employmentArlindo Oliveira (Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon – Portugal)
  • Artificial Intelligence within enterprises: case study – Ana Paula Marques (EDP Manager – Portugal)
  • The goals of labour law in the age of artificial intelligence – Jeremias Adams-Prassl (University of Oxford – United Kingdom)


18h30 (Lisbon Time) – End of activities


May 6


10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 1st Parallel Session:

Health And Safety At The Workplace And Social Security Protection In A Digital World

Chair: Jean-Michel Servais (Honorary President ISLSSL)

  • Major risks for health and safety in employment relations in the digital era – Leszek Mitrus (Jagiellonian University, Poland)
  • Social Security systems in the digital era – Kroum Markov (ILO)
  • Liability for work-related injuries in the digital era – Júlio Gomes (Portuguese Supreme Court) 




10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 2nd Parallel Session:

Social Networks And Employment Contract: What Are The Problems?

Chair: Mia Runnmar (University of Lund)

  • Limits on freedom of speech in social networks – Felicia Rosioru (University Babes-Bolyai, Romenia)
  • Seeking for a job: what is the place of social networks? – Regina Redinha (Universidade do Porto, Portugal)
  • Social networks: public or private sphere? – Marie-Cécile Escande-Varniol (Université Lumière Lyon II, France) 



10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 3rd Parallel Session:

Presentation Of The Book “Modern Forms Of Work”, Young Scholars Section

Coordination: Stefano Bellomo (Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy) / David Carvalho Martins (AJJ, Portugal)


10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 4th Parallel Session (Conducted in Portuguese):

Work In The Digital Era, Developments In Portugal

Chair: Manuel Pinto Hespanhol (Portuguese Supreme Court)

  • Employment in the digital era: a new concept of worker? – António Monteiro Fernandes (ISCTE, Lisboa, Portugal) 
  • Work in the digital era: a new concept of employer / enterprise? – Catarina Carvalho (Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal)
  • Work in the digita era: a new paradigm for collective bargaining? – José João Abrantes (Portuguese Supreme Court)

10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 5th Parallel Session
Work in the digital Era: Developments in Spain

Chair: María Emilia Casas Baamonde (President AEDTSS)

  • The impact of new disruptive technologies on workers privacy – José Luis Goñi Sein – Public University of Navarra, Spain
  • Labour relations in the era of robotics and artificial intelligence – Jesús Mercader Uguina – University Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
  • Algorithms and robots; the challenges of working in the digital age – María Luz Rodríguez Fernández – University of Castilla – La Mancha, Madrid, Spain



10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 6th Parallel Session (Presentation of Papers):

Technology and Employee’s Protection
Chair: Guilherme Dray (Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)

  •  The right to disconnect: a response to one of the challenges raised by the digital transition? European and Belgian perspectives – Fabienne Kéfer (Université de Liège, Belgium)
  • Derecho a la desconexión digital y concliliación de responsabilidades profesionales y familiares – Maria Luísa Molero (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain)
  • What are you thinking of? Freedom of expression and Labour Law in times of social networks – Alessandro Riccobono / Silvio Bologna (Università di Palermo, Italy)
  • Violence and harassment: the psychosocial risks of the digital era and in the Covid19 pandemic – Isabel Vieira Borges (Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
  • Los riesgos psicosociales en el trabajo realizado mediante plataformas digitales – Sílvia Fernández Martinez (Universidad de Alcalá, Spain)




10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 7th Parallel Session (Presentation of Papers): 

Gig Economy and collective relationships
Chair: Pedro Madeira de Brito (Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)

  • Collective bargaining and the gig economy: actors – José Maria Miranda Boto (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
  • Obstáculos analógicos para la negociación colectiva en la era digital – Luís António Fernández Villazon (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain)
  • How big is the “gig” challenge for trade unions? – Michael Doherty / Valentina Franca (National Univerity of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland / University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
  • A saúde mental do trabalhador na 4.ª revolução tecnológica como um desafio para os sindicatos – Giovanna Aiello Soares da Costa / Jouberto de Quadros Pessoa Cavalcante (Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Brazil)
  • A efetividade da tutela metaindividual como instrumento assecuratório de direitos sociais fundamentais dos “entregadores por aplicativos” no Brasil – José Roberto Freire Pimenta / Jurema Costa de Oliveira Silva (Centro Universitário do Distrito Federal – UDF, Brazil)



12h00 (Lisbon Time) – Break




13h00 (Lisbon Time) – 2nd Plenary Session:

Work In Digital Platforms: Legal Challenges

Chair: Tiziano Treu (President Emeritus of the ISLSSL)

    • Who to employ in digital platforms? – Miguel Rodriguez – Piñero Royo (University of Seville)
    • How to identify an employee vis-à-vis the new reality? – Valerio De Stefano (University of Leuven, Belgium)
    • Subordination versus economic dependence in employment relationships in the digital era – Maria do Rosário Palma Ramalho (University of Lisbon – Portugal)

14h45 (Lisbon Time) – Break


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 8th Parallel Session:

Equality And Non-Discrimination In Digital Work

Chair: Frank Hendrickx (University of Leuven, Belgium)

  • Gender (in)equality in digital platforms?Sylvaine Laulom (Cour de Cassation, France)
  • Digital work, equality and the reconciliation of professional life and private and family lifeSusanne Burri (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • Digital era, employment and discrimination: is there a discriminatory algorithm?Teresa Coelho Moreira (Universidade do Minho, Portugal)


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 9th Parallel Session:

Robotics, Automation And Employment Contract: Main Trends

Chair: Darcy du Toit (University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa)


  • Human work and automation: future trendsJosé Eduardo Resende Chaves Júnior (President of the Ibero-American Union of Judges)
  • Automation and technological unemployment: legal aspectsJoana Vasconcelos (Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Lisboa, Portugal)
  • Managed by Algorithms: Legal Aspects of Automated Decision MakingLukasz Pisarczyk (University of Warsaw – Poland)


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 10th Parallel Session (conducted in French):
The Algorithm And The Employment Contract
Chair: Pascal Lockiek (Université Paris) and Anne-Sophie Ginon (Université de Nice)
  • Algorithmes et Contrat de TravailCostas Papadimitriou (University of Athens, Greece)
  • Patrice Adam (Université de Lorraine, France
  • Luke Mason (Birmingham City University, United Kingdom


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 11th Parallel Session (conducted in Portuguese)

Post-pandemic Brazil: Labour Law and Governance


Chair: Nelson Mannrich (University of São Paulo, Brazil): Labour Law Flexibility post Coronavirus pandemic

  • The Role of Labour Judges during and after the pandemic – Maria Cristina Irigoyen Peduzzi (President of the Superior Labour Court) 
  • Evolucionary Interpretation of Constitutional Principles – Luis Carlos Robortella (Lawyer)
  • Informal Workers, Work in Platforms – The Urgent State Protection – Jouberto de Quadros Pessoa Cavalcante (Mackenzie Presbyterian Institute, São Paulo, Brazil)


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 12th Parallel Session: (conducted in Portuguese)

Digital Economy and the Future of Labour Relations: challenges for the Social Partners

Chair: Francisco Assis (Presidente do CES)

Main Speaker: Helena André (ILO)

Roundtable with the Social Partners

Moderator: Bárbara Reis (Jornal Público)

  • Ana Paula Bernardo (UGT)
  • Ana Vieira (CCP)
  • Andrea Araújo (CGTP)
  • Cristina Morais (CAP)
  • Gregório Rocha Novo (APODIT)
  • Dr. Nuno Biscaya (CIP)
  • Nuno Bernardo (CTP)

Closing: Sara Falcão Casaca (Vice-Presidente do CES)


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 13th Parallel Session: Presentation Of Papers

Gig economy and individual relationship

Chair: Rita Canas da Silva (Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Escola de Lisboa, Portugal)

  • Case law of the Court of Justice with regard to the platform economy: the case of UBER – Yolanda Maneiro Vazquez (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
  • La calificación de la relación entre Glovo, Deliveroo y UBER y los mesajeros y conductores a través de los hechos probados: un ensayo preliminar con conclusiones provisionales – Marta Fernandez Prieto / Jaime Cabeza Pereiro /Belén Fernandez do Campo (Universidad de Vigo, Spain)
  • Assessing the employment status of digital platform workers: renewed approach, new indicators and recent judgements – Diego Alvarez Alonso (Universidad de Oviedo, Spain)
  • O trabalho uberizado: a derradeira crise da subordinação jurídica tradicional e a retomada da dependência económica – Murilo Oliveira (Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil)
  • Entre influence décisive et intégration dans l’organisation: une nouvelle genération de de subordination pour le travailleur de plateforme? – Sabrine Magoga Sabatier (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
  • Algorithms as subordination. The role of technology in classifying workers in the platform economy – Anna Ginès (Universitat Ramon Llull – ESADE, Spain)


15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 14th Parallel Session: Presentation Of Paper

Digitalization and employment relationships

Chair: Isabel Vieira Borges (Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)

  • Les effets de la digitalisation sur le partenariat social – Kurt Pärli (Université de Bâle, Suíça)
  • El impacto de la digitalización en la gran empresa – María Luz Rodríguez Fernández /Daniel Pérez del Prado (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain)
  • The impact of digitalization on employment-productivity and the role of social protection – Anna Tsetoura (Lawyer, Hellenic Open University, Greece)
  • Tiempo de trabajo en contextos digitalizados: analisis de la experiencia española – Francisca Fernández Prol (Universidad de Vigo, Spain)
  • New technologies at work: smart working and employment protection in Italy – Carla Spinelli (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy)
  • El impacto de las plataformas digitales en el âmbito laboral – A Pazos Perez (Universidad de Vigo, Spain)


16h30 (Lisbon Time) – End of Activities

May 7



10h30 (Lisbon Time) – 3rd Plenary Session:
Working Time And Workplace In The Digital Era: New Frontiers?

Chair: Manfred Weiss (Honorary President ISLSSL)

  • Working time, time for oneself and right to disconnect – João Leal Amado (Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal)
  • Remote work, telework and smart work – Natalie Munkholm (University of Aarhus, Denmark)
  • Globalization: how to discover the proper law of the employment contract? – Piera Loi (University of Cagliari, Italy)
      12h00 (Lisbon Time)– Break


      13h00 (Lisbon Time) – 4th Plenary Session:

      Collective Action And Collective Bargaining In The Digital Era: Main Trends

      Chair: Stein Evju (University of Oslo)

      • Digital work and trade unionism: can they go together? – Bernd Waas (University of Frankfurt, Germany)
      • Digital work and collective bargaining, a new regulatory challenge? – Fausta Guarriello (University Chieti-Pescara, Italy)
      • Digital work: a new task for social dialogue? – Jesús Cruz Vilallón (University of Seville, Spain)

      14h45 (Lisbon Time) –  Break

      15h00 (Lisbon Time) – 5th Plenary Session:

      Work In A Digital Era, Human Rights And Personal Data Protection

      Chair: Maria do Rosário Palma Ramalho (President APODIT)

      • Technological Omniscience, Social Freedom, and the Law – Matthew Finkin (University of Illinois, USA)
      • The digital era and personal data protection: case law – Ana Guerra Martins (European Court of Human Rights)
      • Digital work, fundamental rights and personality rights – Guillermo Barrios Baudor (University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain)


      17h00 (Lisbon Time) – Closing Session 

      • Janice Bellace (Presidente ISLSSL)
      • Giuseppe Casale (Secretário-Geral da ISLSSL)
      • Maria do Rosário Palma Ramalho (Presidente da APODIT)