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Social Media and Social Networking
2019 Legislative Update after Second Crossover

The Hawaii Employers Council has just published its latest updates on what types of new employment laws may be passed during the 2019 legislative session.  Some of the areas of law that maybe impacted include:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Equal Pay and Pay Disclosures
  • Sexual Harassment and Confidentiality
  • Social Media Privacy
  • Medical Marijuana Non-Discrimination
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Hawaii Family Leave Law for Grandchildren
  • Workers Compensation

The Legislative Digest is available to the public and can be accessed here:  Legislative Digest for Second Crossover. 

A more detailed and comprehensive article discussing several of the key measures that are being considered is available to HEC members only and can be accessed here:  Highlights of Employment Bills after Second Crossover.

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.

Social Media Privacy Bill Vetoed

Following up on his notice of intent to veto HB 1739, this year’s social media privacy bill, Governor David Ige issued his veto of the measure on July 11, 2016.

veto stamp

In his veto message, the Governor noted that the bill contained no enforcement authority or due process.  In addition, the Governor also stated that the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (“DLIR”) does not currently have the staff, resources, or expertise to administer the measure, including such actions as intake of complaints, determination of violations, education of rights, determination and collection of fees, and administrative review.  Furthermore, the DLIR is also struggling with case backlogs in other areas.  Finally, the Governor noted that the Legislature did not provide any funding for administration of this bill.  Therefore, he vetoed the bill.

You can review a copy of the governor’s veto message here:  GM 1322.

Governor Ige Might Veto Social Media Privacy Bill

On Monday, June 27, 2016, Governor Ige announced his intent to veto HB 1739 CD1, a bill that would make it unlawful for an employer to request, require, or coerce an employee or job applicant to disclose their social media login credentials or access the  individual’s social media account in front of the employer, subject to certain exceptions.

Governor Ige

This issue has been a hot topic of discussion at the legislature for several years.

Nevertheless, throughout the multitude of hearings and discussions over the bill, I have yet to hear anybody provide a single concrete real life example of where an employer in Hawaii has ever asked a job applicant or employee to disclose their social media login credentials to an employer.  There have been claims that countless employers are demanding that employees disclose their social media passwords to their employers, but when pressed for details, nobody is ever able to provide any – not the advocates, and certainly not the lawmakers who wrote/support the bill.

In my job, I work with Hawaii companies on a daily basis on HR matters.  For the past several years, I have also spent a considerable amount of time counseling employers on issues related to social media in the workplace.  In fact, I have presented several seminars on the topic dating all the way back to 2008.  I can say that with 100% certainty, in all my time working with employers on employment related matters, I have never had a single employer ask me if they can ask their employees to disclose their social media passwords.

To me, this is a bill that seeks to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.  Personally, I commend Governor Ige for his stance on the matter.

Presentation for University of Hawaii’s HR Ohana Meeting

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak at the HR Ohana Meeting to about 100 human resources professionals from all campuses of the University of Hawaii, which included the Manoa campus, as well as all neighbor island campuses and community colleges.

The meeting took place at Windward Community College, and man, I had no idea that WCC had such a beautiful campus.  On one side of the campus, you have a majestic view of the Koolau mountain range.  On the other side, you have a magnificent view of the ocean.  It was incredible, to say the least:


I was asked to speak about current hot topics in labor and employment law, so I included the following four topics in my presentation:  (1) 2014 legislative update; (2) social media and the workplace; (3) the possible unionization of Northwestern University football players and (4) employment law rights of same-sex couples in Hawaii following the Windsor court decision and legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii.

One of the speakers who presented before me talked about the “HR Tsunami” and how the duties of HR professionals in the workplace are becoming more significant as they take on more active roles in the strategic planning and management of corporations.  In other words, HR professionals are not just performing administrative functions.  I felt that this particular topic was a great segue into my presentation, because it gave me an opportunity to discuss the importance of being proactive in employment-related decisions and reinforce my motto that “the best defense is a good offense.”  It was also good to see that so many people chose to attend the meeting; considering that it was voluntary, having 100 attendees is fantastic because it shows that these HR professionals are doing their own part to be more proactive about their job functions.