Disability discrimination in Hawaii is a serious violation of workers’ rights. It carries extensive penalties for employers who violate the state law, which protects employees from this type of illegal activity.
What Hawaii law says about disability discrimination
Under state law, persons with disabilities are one of several protected classes in employment law. Hawaii state law clearly prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s or job applicant’s disability.
The text of the statute “prohibits any employer or other covered entity from discriminating in employment against individuals because of a disability.” That means an employer cannot deny a job to an applicant or fire an existing employee on the basis of his or her disability. According to state law, “persons with a disability are entitled to equal employment opportunities as are available to persons without a disability.”
State protections extend to ‘perceived’ disabilities
In addition to Hawaii law protecting workers with actual disabilities, the state law also provides protections for “perceived” disabilities, whether physical or mental. A worker “being regarded as having such an impairment” is entitled to the same legal protection as an individual who has a diagnosed or legally determined disability. This clause is intended to stop employers from discriminating on the basis of a disability regardless of whether the employee or applicant has an actual disability or not.
The employer may deny employment in some circumstances
The law lays out scenarios in which an employer may deny an employee or applicant a job with an “impairment, condition or disability” in certain situations. For example, if the essential duties of the job cannot be performed without reasonable accommodation, or if the condition poses a threat to other workers that can’t be eliminated with reasonable accommodation, an employer may deny employment.
Ultimately, if the applicant or employee is capable of performing the job in question and doesn’t pose a significant threat of harm to other employees based on his or her disability, the denial of employment may be grounds for legal action. An individual who has been discriminated against may be able to recover their losses by filing a lawsuit.