As the first state in the union to implement any type of ban the box law, Hawaii has been a leader in implementing restrictions on how employers can use these records. Hawaii enforces several other restrictions on employers to foster a level playing field for all applicants, including those with criminal records. To help employers understand the boundary lines they must obey, we've created this summary. Consider these factors before you order a Hawaii state background check.
Arrest records are not permissible in employment decisions unless a business can demonstrate a clear and direct reason an arrest would negatively impact an individual's ability to perform the job.
You may only order a background check or ask an applicant if they have been convicted after extending a conditional job offer to the individual. Even then, the state allows inquiries into only convictions within a 10-year period and which constitute a clear and negative impact on the applicant's ability to perform. This is a consequence of the state's expansive ban the box law.
Ban the Box
Hawaii implemented its ban the box legislation in 1998 and has not made considerable modifications to the statute since then. An employer can only rescind a job offer if an applicant’s criminal history is “rationally” linked to the job – for example, a DUI conviction for a job offer to be a city bus driver. This law applies to both public and private employers, meaning no business in Hawaii is exempted from these requirements.
Employers may never ask about expunged or sealed arrest records or convictions, and applicants have no legal duty to disclose their criminal history if it has been expunged.
In addition to these restrictions on criminal background checks, Hawaii limits an employer’s ability to consider an applicant’s credit history during the hiring process. You may not use credit history to decide on employment unless it is possible to demonstrate it would have an adverse impact on a mandatory qualification for the job. Due to Hawaii’s rules on inquiries and checks, employers are reminded to familiarize themselves with their obligations and avoid ordering such a check until the appropriate stage in the hiring process.