Laws and Definitions
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended
Employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VII covers private and public employers with 15 or more employees. Under Title VII it is illegal to discriminate in:
Ø Hiring and firing
Ø Compensation, assignment or classification of employees
Ø Transfer, promotion, layoff or recall
Ø Job Advertisements
Ø Use of employer facilities
Ø Training and apprenticeship programs
Ø Fringe benefits
Ø Pay, retirement plans and disability leave
Ø Other terms and conditions of employment
Title VII also prohibits retaliation against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in an investigation or opposes an unlawful employment practice.
Civil Rights Act of 1991
The Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1991 amends Title VII of the 1964 CRA and Section 1981 of the CRA of 1866 ("Section 1981"). The 1991 CRA amends Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Under the 1991 CRA, new remedies of compensatory and punitive damages were made available to victims of intentional discrimination under Title VII and the ADA. Punitive damages are recoverable under the 1991 CRA where a plaintiff demonstrates that the employer acted "with malice or with reckless indifference to the federally protected rights" of the plaintiff.
ADA, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities. A qualified individual with a disability is a person who can perform the essential functions of a job with or without a reasonable accommodation. In addition to the prohibition set out above, the ADA also prohibits-
Ø Making inquiries into the existence, nature or severity of a job applicant's or employee's disability; and
Ø Requiring medical examinations of job applicants before a conditional offer of employment has been made.
HRS Chapter 378, Hawaii Employment Practices Act
The Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 378, provides protections for all persons employed in the State by defining unlawful discriminatory practices to include employment actions taken or denied based on an individual's:
Race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, marital status, assignment of income for child support obligations, national guard participation, breastfeeding or arrest and court record.
Hawai'i law also prohibits any person, whether employer, employee, or not, to aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce the doing or attempting to do acts of discrimination.
In addition, an employer may not discriminate or retaliate against an individual who has opposed a discriminatory practice, filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in a related proceeding.
Rights for Pregnant or Lactating/Breastfeeding Mothers
Title VII requires pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions to be treated the same as temporary illness or conditions. HRS Chapter 328 protects the rights of employees to express breastmilk during any meal or break time required by law.