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Shape of the state of Hawaii with the article's title to the right.Shape of the state of Hawaii with the article's title to the right.
Shape of the state of Hawaii with the article's title to the right.

Hawaii Disability Discrimination Laws

Specific provisions for the state of Hawaii.

Team Disclo
March 26, 2024

Employers must make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified employees and applicants with disabilities, unless employers can show that these accommodations would impose undue hardship on their business operations. Employers can’t deny employment opportunities to employees and applicants with disabilities based on their need for reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments:

  • to the hiring process that enable applicants with disabilities to be considered for a position;
  • to the work environment, or the way or circumstances under which a position is normally performed, that enable employees and applicants with disabilities to perform essential job functions;
  • that enable employees with disabilities to enjoy the same employment benefits and privileges that are available to similarly situated employees without disabilities; or
  • to schedules or leave policies that enable employees with a record of impairments to attend follow-up or monitoring appointments with a health-care provider.

Reasonable accommodations can include making facilities accessible and usable for people with disabilities; restructuring jobs; providing part-time or modified work schedules; reassigning employees to vacant positions; acquiring or modifying equipment or devices; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

Undue hardship means a significant difficulty or expense, based on factors such as:

  • the nature and net cost of accommodations, taking into consideration the availability of tax credits or deductions and outside funding;
  • the affected facility’s overall financial resources and workforce size;
  • the impact of accommodations on expenses and resources;
  • employers’ overall financial resources;
  • employers’ overall business size in terms of workforce size and the number, type, and location of facilities;
  • employers’ type of operations, including their workforce composition, structure, and functions and their geographic separateness from and administrative or fiscal relationship with the affected facility;
  • the impact of accommodations on the affected facility’s operation, including its ability to conduct business and other employees’ ability to perform their job duties;
  • the impact of accommodations on collective bargaining agreements.

Employees don’t have to specifically request reasonable accommodations; they only need to let employers know that they need an adjustment or change to do their job because of limitations caused by disabilities. Employers that receive accommodation requests must initiate an interactive process with employees and applicants to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations. This process must identify the limitations resulting from their disabilities, along with reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations.

Qualified employees and applicants with disabilities aren’t required to accept an accommodation, aid, service, opportunity, or benefit. However, they aren’t considered qualified if they reject a reasonable accommodation, aid, service, opportunity, or benefit—after being notified by employers of the possible consequences of this rejection—and as a result can no longer perform their essential job functions.

Employers aren’t required to make unreasonable structural changes or expensive equipment alterations to accommodate the employment of people with disabilities. They also aren’t required to accommodate the needs of nondisabled people, who are associated with or related to people with disabilities, in ways that aren’t required by Title I of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Haw. Rev. Stat. § 378-3; Haw. Code R. 12-46-182, 12-46-187, 12-46-193

Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers, including state and local governments, with 15 or more employees, are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities. Title I protects qualified individuals with disabilities in several areas, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation and job training. It is also unlawful to retaliate against someone for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability, or for filing an ADA discrimination charge. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) shares enforcement authority for Title I of the ADA with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has primary responsibility for enforcing the employment provisions of the law. (Note: Federal employees and job applicants are covered by Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 instead of the ADA.

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