DLIR NEWS RELEASE: Two New Laws Strengthen Civil Rights in Hawaii

Posted on Oct 8, 2020 in Latest News

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) today announced two new laws that affect employers and strengthen Hawai‘i’s nondiscrimination laws. Act 17 creates a new statute prohibiting employers from requiring an employee to enter into a nondisclosure agreement pertaining to sexual harassment or sexual assault as a condition of employment. Confidential settlement agreements are not prohibited. Act 17 also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee for disclosing or discussing sexual harassment or sexual assault.

“Hawaii joins fifteen other states that have enacted laws to preclude non-disclosure agreements that prevent disclosure of sexual assault or sexual harassment as a condition of employment,” said Executive Director William Hoshijo. “Unfortunately, such agreements have enabled serial harassers to perpetrate unlawful sexual harassment.”

Act 51 amended section 378-2.5, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS), to limit the age of convictions that may be considered in employment decisions. The new law reduces the time period that convictions can be considered from ten years, excluding periods of incarceration, to seven years for felony convictions and five years for misdemeanor convictions, excluding periods of incarceration.

Other portions of the law have not changed—an employer may only ask about and consider convictions after a conditional offer of employment is made, and then can only consider convictions that have a rational relationship to a specific job.  Inquiry into and consideration of records of arrest without conviction continue to be prohibited. Statutory exceptions remain unchanged, for certain jobs in education, banking, and state employment, as well as for other types of employers as specifically provided by law.

For more information about these laws or the HCRC please visit: http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD/TTY Dial 711 then ask for (808) 586-8636

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Media Contacts:

Robin Wurtzel
Chief Counsel
Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission
(808) 586-8636
[email protected]

Bill Kunstman
Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
Director’s Office
[email protected]
http://labor.hawaii.gov