In most cases, Hawaii employers operate under “at will” labor law which means that they do not have to give you a reason or cause for firing you.
Even so, it is possible to hold employers accountable and protect your job. There are several scenarios in which union contracts, federal laws and Hawaii state laws are on your side,
Join a union for collective bargaining power
A strong way to protect yourself and your employment is to organize with other workers and sign a collective employment contract that guarantees job security in writing. According to the Hawaii State AFL-CIO, there are dozens of local unions in Hawaii that support diverse employment sectors such as government employees, skilled trades, flight attendants, teachers and nurses. Joining a union often provides an added safety net and limits an employer’s reasons or firing you.
Rely on federal anti-discrimination statutes
Even if you cannot join a union and are more susceptible to “at will” firing practices, employers in Hawaii are bound by federal laws that prevent discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, marital status or arrest and court record. Document any action that you believe was discriminatory that may have led to a wrongful termination.
Know your rights under state law
Hawaii law also protects you from termination when it arises because of debt you owe the company, from a work-related injury, if you missed work due to a subpoena or from testing positive for an illegal substance at work. If you believe you have been treated unfairly, explore your options for legal recourse. It may be worth investigating your employer and disputing the decision.