Terms of Employment: Hawaii
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Anna Elento-Sneed, Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing
- All workers are presumed to be employees. The burden is on the alleged employer to prove that an individual meets stringent independent contractor tests under state law. See The Employment Relationship.
- Hawaii's antidiscrimination laws are broader than federal antidiscrimination laws. The state laws apply to all employers, except for federal government agencies. See Employers Subject to State Antidiscrimination Laws.
- In addition, there are more protected classifications under Hawaii law than federal law. See State Antidiscrimination Laws Applicable to the Hiring Process.
- Employers may establish bona fide occupational qualifications. See State Antidiscrimination Laws Applicable to the Hiring Process.
- Employers may not make employment decisions based on an individual's arrest record. However, conviction records may be considered in limited circumstances. See Off-Duty Conduct Issues.
- Employment in Hawaii is at-will. However, in addition to statutory exceptions, Hawaii recognizes the public policy and implied contract exceptions to at-will employment. See Types of Employment Relationships.
- As opposed to at-will employees, termination of employees with written contracts will be governed by the terms of the express contract. See Types of Employment Relationships.
- Noncompete, confidentiality and nonsolicitation agreements are permitted. Hawaii also follows the Uniform Trade Secrets Act with respect to trade secrets, except customer lists are not considered trade secrets. See Restrictive Covenants in Employment.