Blog Archives

The 2018 legislative session has come to a close and our State Legislature passed a few bills that affect Hawaii’s labor and employment laws.  Some of the areas of law that have been (or will be) impacted include the following:

  • Increased Workers’ Compensation Reimbursement Rates (for firefighters only)
  • Pay Secrecy and Pay Transparency
  • Paid Family Leave (Study Only; Due September 2019)
  • Medical Cannabis Working Groups

The Hawaii Employers Council has published its Legislative Digest following the Governor’s Veto Deadline.  The digest can be viewed here:  2018 Employment Law Bills after Veto Deadline.

In addition, some of the labor and employment bills that died this year include the following:

  • Notice of Work Schedules
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Medical Marijuana Job Protection
  • Social Media Privacy
  • Mandatory Meal Breaks
  • Minimum Wage Increases
  • Workers’ Compensation Presumptions
 

The 2018 legislative session is well underway.This year, lawmakers introduced dozens of bills that could impact many different areas of labor and employment law.  For instance, some of these proposals could revise Hawaii law on the following topics:

  • Notice of Work Schedules
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Hiring Practices
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Pay Secrecy and Transparency
  • Social Media Privacy
  • Workplace TRO’s
  • Independent Contractors
  • Wage Discrimination
  • Minimum Wage
  • Workers Compensation
  • Temporary Disability Insurance

Many of these measures have been heard and passed out by their assigned committees, whereas others may end up on the cutting room floor this week.  The Hawaii Employers Council (“HEC”) will be closely monitoring these bills during the 2018 legislative session.

You can view a listing of bills that HEC will be monitoring here:  2018 Employment Bills Introduced.   An updated list of bills will be issued following the First Crossover deadline.

 

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Labor withdrew a previous Administrative Interpretation regarding when two or more companies can constitute joint-employers for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  For my thoughts on what this means for employers, you can read a write-up by the Pacific Business News here:  Department of Labor withdrawal of joint employment guidance “good news” for employers.

 

Earlier today, the new Speaker of the State House of Representatives Scott Saiki announced his full leadership team.

The new Vice Speaker of the House is Della Au Belatti, the Majority Leader is Cindy Evans, and the Majority Floor Leader is Dee Morikawa.  The full list of Saiki’s new leadership team can be viewed here:  New House Leadership May 17, 2017.

 

The 2017 legislative session has come to a close.  This year, state lawmakers ended up passing out several measures that will amend various employment laws in Hawaii.  Such laws include workers’ compensation, payment of wages, Hawaii Family Leave Law, occupational safety and health penalties, and others.  In addition, the legislature also passed out bills with regards to the Affordable Care Act, medical marijuana, non-profit corporations, and privacy of medical records.

Each legislative session, I prepare a legislative digest on behalf of the Hawaii Employers Council (“HEC”) that provides a list and description of the bills we think could have an impact on employers.  To view a copy of the latest version of the legislative digest following the end of session, please click on the following link:  Employment Bills after Sine Die.

I also presented a 45-minute webinar discussing several of these bills.  The webinar is available for HEC members only and can be viewed here:  2017 Legislative Wrap-Up (Recorded Webinar).

 

On Monday, April 10, 2017, Neil Gorsuch was sworn is as the 113th justice of the United States Supreme Court.  He was nominated by President Donald Trump to succeed the late Antonin Scalia and previously served as a judge on the federal Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.  Justice Gorsuch is known to be a strict conservative who has vowed “to be a faithful servant of the Constitution[.]”  He is known to be a proponent of “originalism,” which means the Constitution should be interpreted as perceived at the time of enactment and “textualism” which means that statutes should be interpreted literally, without considering the legislative history and underlying purpose of the law.

Gorsuch_Supreme Court

The confirmation of Associate Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court did not come easy.  Democratic Senators waged a filibuster to prevent Gorsuch from receiving the 60 votes required to advance his nomination to a final vote, but Republicans invoked what is known as the nuclear option, which lowered the threshold on Gorsuch’s nomination to a simple majority vote.  Thereafter, the Senate confirmed Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court by a 54-45 vote.

As of yesterday, the Supreme Court once again has a full-complement of nine justices.  Supreme Court justices (typically ) have lifetime appointments.

 

These past few months, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about medical marijuana.  And no, the questions haven’t been about how to get medical marijuana!  Rather, companies and the media have been asking me various questions about the rights of businesses when it comes to medical marijuana usage, either by employees or even customers.  It appears these questions have become more and more common because medical marijuana dispensaries will be opening shortly here in Hawaii.

 questions

Recently, the Kokua Line – a column for the Star Advertiser – wrote a couple of brief articles addressing some of the questions that are commonly raised by businesses.  You can read the articles on the following links:

There were also several bills relating to medical marijuana moving through this year’s legislative session.  Only one bill is still alive, however, and that measure would expand the reasons for which an individual could qualify for a medical marijuana card.  Under current law, an individual qualifies for medical marijuana usage if s/he has a “debilitating condition” – which currently includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDs, or a chronic or debilitating disease or condition that involves cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, or PTSD.

For further information about Hawaii’s medical marijuana laws, you can read the applicable statutes here:  HRS Chapter 329.