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In Hawaii, can a. In Hawaii can a promotion that was

In Hawaii, can a. ...

In Hawaii, can a.

Lawyer's Assistant: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

In Hawaii can a promotion that was discussed and promised at an annual review, be withdrawn without reason?

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the workplace "at will" or union? Is the job hourly or salaried?

At will. Would have moved from hourly to salary

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not at this time

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
4/23/2018
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,167
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Yes, it may. The first thing that you need to know is that Hawaii is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

So even though there is a promise, as it's an at-will relationship, the promise can be withdrawn (even after they move the employee from hourly to salary, they could move him/her back, etc...). So long as this was not done based upon race, age, religion, gender, or disability, or in retaliation for doing any protected activity (FMLA leave, filing an EEOC case, etc...) then it would be legal. I'm not saying it's moral, ethical, or logical. But it is legal.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I question whether this change occured as a result of discrimination. I am a military spouse and the position was later offered to a local who was on the verge of quitting.

If the reason is one of those factors above (race, age, religion, gender, disability) then it could be actionable. Discrimination based upon someone as a military spouse is not itself actionable (although there could be a racial component about it).

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The problem is that discrimination / profiling / etc... is not necessarily illegal or actionable. Illegal discrimination is illegal, but note that I mention "illegal" discrimination. Discrimination is merely treating two similarly situated employees differently based upon some differentiating factor. That factor could be illegal (race, age, religion, gender, disability) but for it to be illegal there has to be a specific law that makes it so. Race, age, religion, gender, disability discrimination is illegal because of Title VII, the ADA, ADEA, etc... These are specific laws that make such discrimination illegal. But discrimination on other factors that are not illegal would mean, necessarily, that the discrimination is legal. "Legal" discrimination can even be logical, such as discrimination based upon education, experience, knowledge, skill, etc... or illogical (but still legal) such as based upon family / friendship, what sports team you root for, etc... or even if you smile or not. That's not based on race, age, religion, gender, or disability. Now if could be "pretext" in that the "real" reason for discrimination is based on race. But that's your burden of proof to establish the illegal discrimination.

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Discriminating against someone because they're not "local" is not illegal, per se. Again, if it's based upon race, that's illegal. But basing it on other factors (local vs. someone from the mainland) is not illegal. Again, it could be completely illogical, unethical, or immoral. But for it to actually be illegal, the discrimination has to be based upon one of those illegal criteria (race, age, religion, gender, or disability).

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
There is a race difference between myself and the "local" along with experience and credentials.

Just being a race difference is not enough, but rather the reason for the disparate treatment would need to be race. Does that make sense? Now if it's a pattern where they often treat one race better or worse than others, then that could provide the evidence (even circumstantial) that the reason is based on race.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Perfectly. Thank you.

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,167
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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