Hawaii News & Analysis

  • Hawaii's 2019 legislature ends with whimper, not a bang, for employers

    Hawaii's 2019 legislative session recently concluded with no significant employment-related bills sent to Governor David Ige. There was no minimum wage increase, and no action was taken affecting the confidentiality of sex discrimination settlements. A bill modestly expanding employees' protections under the state's equal pay law was sent to the governor.

  • Hawaii judge enforces arbitration agreement in 'very small print'

    A Hawaii federal judge recently granted an employer's request to compel arbitration of a whistleblower claim filed by a former employee, rejecting the latter's argument that the agreement was unenforceable because it was written in "very small print."

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • September 30 deadline looms for newly required EEO-1 data

    Employers required to submit EEO-1 reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are venturing into uncharted territory as they work to collect newly required information due by September 30. While they may be accustomed to submitting traditional EEO-1 information—data on employees' race/ethnicity and gender, or what's being called Component 1 data—this year they also must compile data on compensation and hours worked, or what's being called Component 2 data.

  • Feeling stressed? Take it outside

    We all need a breath of fresh air sometimes. With summer starting up, we should be able to find plenty of ways to get away from our desks ― even just for a break. And Alaska's natural beauty can be a perfect cure for employees' work-related stress. This article addresses the unwanted consequences of work stress and the benefits of encouraging employees to spend time outside.

  • Trust—cornerstone for high performance culture

    A CEO for a privately held telecommunications company just learned the results of a recent corporate culture survey. Only 40% of her employees responded favorably in the category of "Employee Engagement." She was disappointed and frustrated, recognizing the impact of high employee engagement on achieving operational excellence. The initiatives that she implemented within the past year to boost commitment had failed. She didn't know what to do next.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds lack of mentorship and coaching. New data from media agency network Mindshare U.S. found that 42% of U.S. employees said their companies either don't offer mentorship programs or don't offer enough of them. Men were more likely than women to say they either got enough or more than enough mentorship programs at work, at 57% versus 42%. The research also found that 66% of U.S. employees rank ongoing feedback or coaching on their work as an important or very important benefit in the workplace. Yet 28% of people surveyed said that they either don't get enough ongoing coaching or feedback or that their companies don't even offer it. The data showed that women were more likely than men to feel that way, at 31% versus 25%.

  • Hawaii employee can allege retaliation even though harassment claim failed

    A Hawaii judge dismissed a racial harassment claim against an employer despite finding the employee had been subjected to "extremely offensive" race-based language. Although the harassment allegations came up short, the judge ruled the employee's claim that he was retaliated against for complaining about the conduct remains viable.

  • DOL says FMLA leave mandatory for employees and employers

    After more than 25 years, you might think questions regarding proper interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would be settled. It's a highly regulated law, and it provides employers far more detail and clarity than they get with most other labor and employment laws.

  • Tips to ensure you are prepared for a deposition

    For an HR professional, giving a deposition is a lot like visiting the dentist. You know it's necessary, but you probably aren't looking forward to it. You may be asked questions you don't want to answer (like how often you actually floss). And finally, consistently responsible practices should reduce your stress levels about the event, make it go a lot smoother, and prevent worse problems in the future.