Hawaii Sex Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Hawaii Sex Discrimination: What you need to know

The Hawaii Fair Employment Practice Law prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex (including gender identity or expression; pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, or marital status (HI Rev. Stat. Sec. 378-1 et seq.). The Law applies to all employers in the state.
Under guidelines issued by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, it is unlawful for employers to use preemployment inquiries that ask "male, female" or "Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms." questions unless the inquiry is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) (HI Admin. Code Sec. 12-46-103).
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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed that an employer may be liable for sex discrimination when a female employee is subjected to adverse employment action and treated less favorably than similarly situated male employees in violation of federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Davis v. Team Elec. Co., 520 F.3d 1080 (9th Cir. 2008)). In this case, the employee provided evidence that the employer gave her a disproportionate amount of dangerous and strenuous work, excluded her from meetings that male coworkers attended, and failed to respond to her radio communications. The employer subsequently terminated her employment even though it retained male electricians with less seniority. The court ruled that the evidence was sufficient to support the employee's claim that she suffered an adverse employment action and that she was entitled to proceed to trial.
Practical tip: Employers should promptly investigate employee complaints about discriminatory work assignments, transfers, promotions, and other employment actions. By investigating, an employer has an opportunity to evaluate the ...

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