Hawaii employers generally have the right to define the terms of employment and have discretion with regard to hiring, firing, and promoting employees. Employment laws define exceptions to the general rule, though, in that they prohibit employers from discriminating against employees due to their age, race, religion, or for being part of any other protected class. Unfortunately, however, many employers disregard the law and engage in discriminatory practices, causing their employees to suffer emotional and economic harm. If your employer treated you unjustly because of your race, gender, sexual orientation, or another protected status, you might be owed damages, and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. The seasoned Honolulu employment discrimination attorneys of Bickerton Law Group LLLP are proficient at helping victims of discriminatory practices seek compensation for their losses, and if you engage our services, we will work tirelessly to help you seek justice.Laws Prohibiting Discrimination
State and federal laws protect employees in Hawaii from discrimination in the workplace. The Hawaii Employment Practices Act (the Act) provides numerous classes of people protection from discrimination. Specifically, the Act dictates that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or prospective employee because of their sex, including gender expression or identity, race, age, sexual orientation, or religion. The Act also protects people from discrimination due to a disability, their marital status, court or arrest record, or because they are the victim of sexual or domestic violence. Behavior the Act precludes includes terminating or refusing to hire a person because of their membership in a protected class or discriminating against them with regard to the conditions, privileges, and terms of their employment.
Numerous federal laws offer Hawaii employees protection from discrimination as well. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) provides that it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against people with regard to the conditions, privileges, or terms of employment because of their sex, color, race, national origin, or religion. Additionally, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) bars employers from discriminating against potential or current employees who are forty years old or older. In other words, employers cannot legally refuse to hire a person because of their advanced age or discriminate against them with regard to compensation, employment privileges, or the terms of their employment. The ADEA also prohibits employers from classifying or limiting employees in a way that would impair a person’s employment status or opportunities because of their age. Finally, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified people with disabilities with regard to hiring, job application procedures, promotions, firing, compensation, and other conditions, terms, and privileges of employment. The ADA only applies to employers that have fifteen or more employees.Elements of an Employment Discrimination Lawsuit
Victims of employment discrimination have the right to pursue civil claims against their employer, but the exact claims they will assert will vary depending on the facts of their case. Prior to pursuing such claims, however, they must file with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) within 180 days, or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory act to preserve their right to pursue damages.
Generally, a plaintiff in an employment discrimination case must show that they were a member of a protected class and that the defendant treated them adversely because of their membership in that class. As plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases rarely have direct evidence of discrimination, they will often have to use circumstantial evidence to establish their claims. The burden then shifts to the employer to demonstrate that they had a valid reason for treating the plaintiff adversely. If the employer is able to do so, the plaintiff’s claims will fail unless the plaintiff can prove that the reason asserted by the employer is mere pretext.Talk to a Trusted Honolulu Employment Discrimination Attorney
Numerous laws preclude employers from adversely affecting a person’s employment due to their membership in a protected class. If you suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your age, race, gender, or any other protected status, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted Honolulu employment attorneys of the Bickerton Law Group LLLP possess the skills and experience needed to help you seek a successful result, and if we represent you, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. Our office is in Honolulu, and we regularly represent people in employment lawsuits in Honolulu and cities throughout Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Counties. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at (808) 599-3811 to set up a confidential conference.