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Hawaii Expands Restrictions on Non-Disclosure Agreements for Claims of Sexual Harassment and Assault

Hawaii has expanded its restrictions regarding non-disclosure agreements of sexual assault. Effective July 12, 2022, employers may not enter into, nor require an employee to enter into, a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent them from discussing work-related sexual harassment or assault. Previously, the prohibition only applied in cases where the employer made the non-disclosure agreement a condition of employment. 

Next Steps for Employers

Employers who utilize employment agreements with non-disclosure provisions will want to partner with legal counsel to ensure proper compliance with the law. It is also highly recommended that employers seek legal assistance with drafting any such documentation or looking to enforce any such previously implemented non-disclosure agreements that employees may have signed.

In light of the amendment, it is also a suitable time for employers to review, and, if needed, update their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the amended law including having an established complaint process and designates that have been trained on conducting and documenting investigations. It is recommended that all employees, including supervisors/managers should be trained on how to prevent, recognize and respond to sexual and other forms of harassment.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.