Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the Hawaii Labor Relations Board do?

The Hawaii Labor Relations Board interprets the state collective bargaining laws for public and private employment and conducts hearings to resolve labor disputes on complaints of prohibited practices that may be filed by and between employers, employees and their unions. (HRS 89-5)

The Board also hears contests filed by employers who appeal citations or by aggrieved parties from other decisions issued by the Director of Labor and Industrial Relations through the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division (HIOSH). (HRS 396-11)

2. Where is the Board located? 

The Board is located at 830 Punchbowl Street, Room 434, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. The Board’s telephone number is (808) 586-8610 and fax number is (808) 586-8613.

3. What is a prohibited or unfair labor practice?

Under HRS Chapters 89 and 377, it is unlawful for:

  • a) the employer/employee or employee organization to interfere with or restrain the employee’s rights guaranteed under the respective chapters (HRS 377-6(1), 377-7(1), 89-13(a)(1) or 89-13(b)(1));
  • b) the employer to dominate or interfere in the formation, existence, or administration of an employee organization (HRS 377-6 and 89-13(a)(2));
  • c) the employer to discriminate in regard to hiring, tenure, or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in an employee organization (HRS 89-13(a)(3) and 377-6(3));
  • d) the employer to discharge or discriminate against an employee because the employee has signed or filed a petition or complaint or given testimony under the respective chapter (HRS 89-13(a)(4) and 377-6(8));
  • e) the employer or the union to refuse to bargain collectively in good faith (HRS 89-13(a)(5) and 377-6(4));
  • f) the union to violate the provisions of the chapter, including the responsibility to represent the interests of all employees without discrimination (HRS 89-13(b)(4), 89-8(a), and 378-51); and
  • g) the employer, the union or employee to violate the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (HRS 89-13(a)(8), 89-13(b)(5), 377-6(6), and 377-7(3)).

4. Who can file a prohibited practice complaint or unfair labor practice complaint?

  • a) A public employer, including the Governor of the State, the Mayors in the case of the City and County of Honolulu and the counties of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai, the Board of Education in the case of the Department of Education, the Board of Regents for the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Board for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, and the administrative director of the courts for the Judiciary, and their designees. (HRS 89-2, 89-13)
  • b) A private employer, a person who engages the services of an employee under HRS Chapter 377 (primarily agricultural workers and those not within the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board).
  • c) An employee organization which represents employees subject to HRS Chapters 89 and 377.
  • d) Employees of public and private employers. (HRS 89-2 and 377-1)

5. Does the Board hear discrimination complaints?

Generally no, unless the prohibited or unfair labor practice complaint is based on personnel action to encourage or discourage union membership; or because an employee has signed an affidavit, petition, or complaint or gives any information or testimony under HRS Chapter 89, or because the employee has informed, joined, or chosen to be represented by a union.

6. Does the Board give legal advice about a problem on the job with the employer or with the union?

No. The Board or its staff cannot give legal advice about any problem with the job or with the union.

7. Can the Board appoint an attorney to represent or assist a party?

No, the Board cannot appoint attorneys to represent or assist the parties. An employee may file a prohibited practice complaint against his or her employer or union without an attorney (i.e., pro se). A person who files a prohibited practice complaint, pro se, has the right to hire a attorney at any time during the Board’s adjudication of the complaint. But the attorney’s fees and costs are the responsibility of the individual complainant.

8. How many copies of documents need to be filed?

For proceedings relating to public employment under HRS Chapter 89 and occupational health and safety under Chapter 396, the original, with certificate of service attached, and five copies have to be filed. For proceedings relating to private employment under Chapter 377, the original, with certificate of service attached, and four copies have to be filed.

9. Does the Board accept filings by fax?

No, documents have to be filed at the Board’s office or mailed

10. Is there a statute of limitations to bring a prohibited practice or unfair labor practice complaint?

Yes, a complaint has to be brought within 90 days of the occurrence of the practice or when he or she knew or should have known a prohibited or unfair labor practice had been committed.

11. Will the Board issue a written ruling in the case?

The Board issues written decisions accompanied by findings of fact and conclusions of law. Intermediate rulings during the proceedings may be made in writing.

12. Can I appeal the Board’s decisions and final orders?

Yes, an aggrieved party may appeal to the appropriate Circuit Court within 30 days of the Board’s final decision or order. (HRS 89-14, 377-9, and 91-14)