Illegal Termination From Your Job

  1. Generally, Hawaii is an “at will” State.  This means an employer does not need to give you a reason to let you go, lay you off, or fire you unless:
    • You have a contract with the employer that requires you be notified of the reason.  If your employer broke a contract you need to consult an attorney to assist you with any claims you may have.  You can reach the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service at (808) 537-9140 or go to their website at
    • You are a member of a union that has a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with your employer.  If you are a union member with a CBA, then you should consult your union.
  2. If you believe an employer discriminated against you because of your race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, color, ancestry, disability, marital status, or arrest and court record, you may contact the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission at (808) 586-8636 or you may go to their website at for more information.
  3. Chapter 378, Part III, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), states in part that an employer may not suspend, discharge, or discriminate against you:
    1. Solely because the employer was summoned as a garnishee in a cause where the employee is the debtor or because the employee has filed a petition for a wage earner plan under Chapter XIII of the Bankruptcy Act [§378-32(a)(1), HRS]; or
    2. Solely because the employee has suffered a work injury, compensable under Workers’ Compensation, unless the employee is no longer capable of performing the work and the employer has no other available work which the employee is capable of performing [§378-32(a)(2), HRS]; or
    3. Because the employer testified or was subpoenaed to testify in a case under Part III of the Employment Practices Law [§378-32(a)(3), HRS]; or
    4. Because an employee tested positive for the presence of drugs, alcohol, or the metabolites of drugs in a substance abuse on-site screening test [§378-32(a)(4), HRS].

If you believe that you have been suspended, discharged, or discrminated against because of any of the above reasons under §378-32, HRS, you may file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR), Wage Standards Division, or any of the DLIR’s district offices on Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii (Hilo and West Hawaii).

You must file your complaint within 30 days of the date you were suspended, discharged, or discriminated against.