The Hawaii Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race or color (HI Rev. Stat. Sec. 378-1et seq.). The Act applies to all employers in the state. Under the Act, it is unlawful to:
• Refuse to hire, discharge from employment, or otherwise discriminate against any individual in compensation or terms or conditions of employment because of race or color.
• Print or circulate any advertisement or application for employment that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to race or color, unless race or color is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).
• Make an inquiry of a prospective employee that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to race or color, unless race or color is a BFOQ.
• Refuse to enter into an apprenticeship agreement because of the race or color of the apprentice.
• Retaliate against any individual because the individual has opposed a discriminatory practice, filed a complaint, or testified or assisted in any proceeding regarding discriminatory practices.
• Aid, compel, or coerce an individual to engage in a discriminatory practice.
BFOQ. It is permissible to hire an individual on the basis of race or color because of a BFOQ reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the particular business (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain race or color). A BFOQ must also have a substantial relationship to the functions and responsibilities of the job in question. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances, and employers should be very cautious in relying on such a rationale when making employment decisions that have a discriminatory effect.
Ability to perform. An ...