Blog Archives

2018 Legislative Proposals

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.

Two New Workplace Poster Requirements

In case you missed it, as of August 1, 2016, there are two new (or more accurately, revised) posters that employers must post in the workplace.


First, every employer who has employees that are subject to the FLSA (that’s most of you) must post a revised version of the FLSA poster in the workplace.  The poster must be posted in a conspicuous place as to permit employees to readily read it.  Four versions of the new poster can be obtained on the DOL’s website:

Second, employers who are covered by the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (that’s also most of you) must also post a revised version of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act poster in the workplace.  This poster must also be posted in a prominent and concpicuosu lace in every establishment of the employer where it can be readily observed yb employees and applicants for employment.  There are two versions of this poster available:

These new posting requirements are the result of an increase in fines under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.  

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.

SHRM – “Ask a Lawyer” Seminar

This morning, I was one of the  speakers at SHRM’s annual “Ask a Lawyer” seminar, which provides attendees with three intimate 20 minute sessions with some of the top labor and employment attorneys in the State of Hawaii.   I was very honored to be included with this esteemed group of attorneys, and my topic dealt with Social Networking and its impact on the workforce.

I spoke about the pros and cons Social Networking can have on the workplace.   During my round table discussions, we discussed some of the benefits Social Networking can provide for a company, such as increased exposure, expanded networks, and virtually free marketing that allows a company to connect to the world through their fingertips.  We also discussed the challenges many employers face when dealing with issues such as (a) whether they can monitor employees’ use of Social Networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, (b) whether they can do background checks of employees by using Facebook and Myspace, (c) whether they should control or limit their employees’ use of Social Networking sites, at least while at work, and (d) whether their company should develop an employment policy to cover Social Networking.

Overall, the seminar was  huge success.   Although, I wish each session could have been a little longer than 20 minutes; I found there wasn’t enough time to answer all the questions everybody had or to explain everything that needed to be explained.   In any event, if your company has any questions regarding Social Networking in the workplace or you are wondering whether your company can or even should implement a Social Networking policy, I strongly recommend that you contact your labor and employment attorney.

Hawaii Unemployment Rises to 7.1%

According to statistics compiled by the Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaii’s unemployment rose to 7.1% in March 2009. The Honolulu Advertiser also reported that Hawaii’s unemployment rate is still below the national average of 8.5%. The prior month, the Honolulu Advertiser reported that Hawaii’s unemployment rate had risen to 6.5%, which is the highest it had been in 30 years.

What does this mean for Hawaii employers? Depending on your perspective, hiring could become either (a) easier or (b) harder, during this downturn. Here is an interesting article I read on the topic.