Hawaii's Fair Chance Law
Source: National Employment Law Project
In 1998, Hawaii became the first state to ban the box as applied to both public and private employment. Adding HRS § 378-2.5 to state law, the bill prohibits employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. The offer may be withdrawn if the applicant’s conviction bears a “rational relationship” to the duties and responsibilities of the po- sition sought. Under the law, employers may only consider an employee’s conviction record within the most recent ten years, excluding periods of incarceration. Prior to HB 3528, the definition of unlawful discriminatory practices (§ 378-2) included “arrest and court record” as an impermissible reason for an employer to “refuse to hire or employ or to bar or discharge from employment, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual.”
Commentary: Prohibiting employers from inquiring into a criminal history until after a conditional offer provides one of the strongest worker protections.