In Hawaii, most employment is considered "at will". This form of employment follows the principle that either the employer or the employee may terminate the relationship at any point, for any reason. Essentially, the only limitation or exception in an "at will" employment is that the termination must not conflict with the law.
Employment arrangements that do not qualify as "at will" are not subject to the same limitations and restrictions, so it is essential that you know how your work setup is classified. Work arrangements that are based on an employment contract are often not "at will", and so they cannot be terminated except according to the contract procedures.
What are the Illegal Grounds for Terminating At Will Employment in Hawaii?
Discrimination is the most common unlawful grounds for terminating an employee in Hawaii. Employers are not allowed to terminate an employee because of their race, religion, nationality, or gender. An employer also may not fire an at-will employee in retaliation for the employee initiating an investigation into discrimination or filing a legal claim of discrimination against the Lahaina employer.
Additionally, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers may not terminate employees who have taken leave for family reasons or medical treatment. Lastly, employers are prevented from terminating an employee because they have exercised a legal right, performed a legal obligation, or have refused to do something that is illegal.
Do I Need a Hawaii Attorney for My Wrongful Termination Case?
A local Lahaina, Hawaii attorney can better inform you about whether a wrongful termination has occurred, and will also help in collecting the appropriate documents for your case. There may also be unique procedures that an attorney can shepherd you through.