The Hawaii Fair Employment Practice Law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of ancestry (HI Rev. Stat. Sec. 378-1 et seq.). The Law applies to all employers in the state. Under the Law, 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 ancestry
• Print or circulate any advertisement or application for employment that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to ancestry
• Make an inquiry of a prospective employee that expresses any limitation, specification, or discrimination as to ancestry, unless ancestry is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ)
• Refuse to enter into an apprenticeship agreement because of the ancestry 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 ancestry because of a BFOQ reasonably necessary to the essence of the particular business (e.g., hiring actors to portray individuals of a certain ancestry). The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission's rules expressly state that the BFOQ exception to ancestry will be strictly and narrowly construed, therefore, employers should be very cautious in relying on such a rationale when making employment decisions that have a discriminatory effect.
Ability to perform. An employer may refuse to hire or discharge an individual for any reason relating to the ability of the individual ...