Pacific Business News (PBN) released its annual list of top Labor & Employment Law Firms in Hawai‘i, and Cades Schutte is proud to once again be ranked #1.
As part of the report, PBN asked Employment Law & Labor Relations Partner and Management Committee member Amanda M. Jones questions regarding the future of employment litigation in Hawai‘i and steps employers should take to mitigate risks. Her responses are below:
What is one major issue for labor and employment litigation that you expect to gain prominence in the next year, and why?
If the predictions by some that we are about to enter a recession are correct, some employers are going to need to make difficult decisions about layoffs in the next year. While economic conditions are legitimate reasons for employment decisions, citing a recessionary climate does not fully immunize employers from legal claims.
The issue becomes who was selected for layoffs and who was not and whether there were legitimate reasons for those selections. Employers need to be prepared to demonstrate the non-discriminatory motives for their decisions.
Employers may also want to consider offering separation packages, if possible, to those selected. It is advisable to consult legal counsel for layoffs and separation offers because of the legal risks involved and to ensure compliance with federal and state laws.
What are the most important steps that employers should take to minimize litigation risks in the months ahead?
As a result of workforce shifts since the pandemic began, there are many people who are in new roles as supervisors and managers. Employers should not expect those individuals to understand employment law and best practices without education and training.
Employers can minimize litigation risks by providing training and mentoring for less experienced supervisors and managers as well as refresher training for those who are more experienced.
Disability discrimination is one of the most commonly filed charges in Hawai‘i, and employment laws surrounding disability are among the more complex to understand and implement.
Training provided to managers and supervisors should devote substantial time to that topic, along with others that present significant legal risks, like sexual harassment.