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At-Will Employment
SES Seminar on Hiring and Firing in Today’s Economy

Earlier this month, I presented a seminar for Sterling Education Services on “Hiring and Firing Employees.”  I tailored the seminar to issues that are most prevalent in today’s current economy.

Hiring and terminations have always been two of the most important aspects of the employment process.  Whereas hiring the right employees can definitely enhance your workforce and increase profitability, hiring the wrong employees can oftentimes lead to disastrous results, such as poor productivity, workplace harassment, and unnecessary lawsuits.  In addition, there are several legal hurdles and pitfalls involved with the hiring process that employers need to avoid, such as inadvertently placing a job advertisement that could lead to a claim for discrimination.

Terminations are perhaps the most emotional and difficult part of the employment process.  Not only are terminations emotionally draining, but any misstep can lead to the former (and disgruntled) employees to file a lawsuit against your company.  The recent film, Up in the Air touched on a few of these issues.   Although the termination process can be emotionally and legally challenging, by knowing how to handle the process, it makes it a lot easier to go through.

With the current state of the economy, employment related lawsuits are on the rise.  As the economy worsens, people get more litigious.  Therefore, I recommend that all employers be very careful in the hiring and firing process, and consult their labor and employment attorneys when necessary.

 
At-Will Employment F.A.Q.

Is Hawaii employment at-will? If so, what does that mean?
Yes, the default employment status in Hawaii is at-will. At-will employment means either the employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, without or without reason. This does not, however, mean employers can terminate an employee for illegal reasons.

Are employees in Hawaii required to give two weeks notice for a resignation?
No. This is a common misconception by both employers and employees. Unless there is a contractual obligation to give two weeks notice, it is not required.

What are protected classes?
Protected classes include a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, marital status and arrest & court record. Employers are not permitted to take any adverse employment action against any employee or prospective employee because of any protected class.