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New Hawai‘i Laws that Could Affect Your Business

Jul 31, 2015

By Anne Horiuchi | First published July 31, 2015 on akamaiemployer.com

The Hawai‘i 2015 Legislative Session resulted in the passage of several new laws that may impact your business.

For hotels, Act 137 relating to Service Charges took effect on June 19, 2015. This law requires hotels to either distribute porterage service charges to employees in full, or notify customers that service charges are being used for other purposes. As defined by Act 137, “porterage” is the “act of moving luggage, bags, or parcels between a guest room and a lobby, front desk, or any area with vehicular access at a hotel, hotel-condominium, or condominium-hotel.”

As of July 1, 2015, technology businesses are prohibited from including non-compete or non-solicit clauses in their employment contracts pursuant to Act 158 relating to Employment Agreements. A “technology business” is a “trade or business that derives the majority of its gross income from the sale or license of products or services resulting from its software development or information technology development, or both.” However, any trade or business in the broadcast industry or any telecommunications carrier is exempt from this definition of “technology business.” Act 158 does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, or proceedings that were begun before July 1st.

Hawai‘i law currently prohibits smoking in all enclosed or partially enclosed areas of places of employment, and within 20 feet from entrances, exits, windows that open, and ventilation intakes that serve an enclosed or partially enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. As of January 1, 2016, Act 19 relating to the Regulation of Tobacco Products will prohibit the use of electronic smoking devices in places where smoking is prohibited. An “electronic smoking device” is “any electronic product that can be used to aerosolize and deliver nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including but not limited to an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, hookah pipe, or hookah pen, and any cartridge or other component of the device or related product, whether or not sold separately.” Employers with no-smoking policies may want to review their policies to ensure that electronic smoking devices are included in those policies by January 1, 2016.

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