2020 Hawaii Revised Statutes
Title 21. Labor and Industrial Relations
377. Hawaii Employment Relations Act
377-9 Prevention of unfair labor practices.

Universal Citation: HI Rev Stat § 377-9 (2020)

§377-9 Prevention of unfair labor practices. (a) Any controversy concerning unfair labor practices may be submitted to the board in the manner and with the effect provided in this chapter, but nothing herein shall prevent the pursuit of relief in courts of competent jurisdiction.

(b) Any party in interest may file with the board a written complaint, on a form provided by the board, charging any person with having engaged in any specific unfair labor practice. The board shall serve or require the complainant to serve a copy of the complaint upon the person charged, hereinafter referred to as the respondent. If the board has reasonable cause to believe that the respondent is a member of or represented by a labor union, then service upon an officer of the union shall be deemed to be service upon the respondent. Service may be by delivery to the person, or by mail or electronic service through a company designated by the board, to the person's last known address. Any other person claiming interest in the dispute or controversy, as an employer, an employee or their representative, shall be made a party upon proof of the interest. The board may bring in additional parties by service of a copy of the complaint. Only one complaint shall issue against a person with respect to a single controversy, but any complaint may be amended in the discretion of the board at any time prior to the issuance of a final order based thereon. The respondent may file an answer to the original or amended complaint but the board may find to be true any allegation in the complaint in the event either no answer is filed or the answer neither specifically denies nor explains the allegation nor states that the respondent is without knowledge concerning the allegation. The respondent shall have the right to appear in person or otherwise give testimony at the place and time fixed in the notice of hearing. The hearing on the complaint shall be before either the board or a hearings officer of the board, as the board may determine.

The board shall fix a time for the hearing on the complaint, which shall be not less than ten nor more than forty days after the filing of the complaint or amendment thereof. Notwithstanding section 91-9.5, in any hearing conducted by the board, all parties shall be given written notice of the hearing by first class mail or by electronic service through a company designated by the board at least fifteen days before the scheduled date of the hearing. In case a party in interest is located without the State and has no known address within the State and no known electronic mail address, a copy of the complaint and copies of all notices shall be filed in the office of the lieutenant governor and shall also be sent by first class mail to the last known address of the party. Such filing and mailing shall constitute sufficient service with the same force and effect as if served upon a party located within the State. The hearing may be adjourned from time to time in the discretion of the board and hearings may be held at such places as the board shall designate.

In all proceedings under this chapter before the board, each member of the board may issue subpoenas and administer oaths. Depositions may be taken in the manner prescribed by law. No person shall be excused from attending and testifying or from producing books, records, correspondence, documents, or other evidence in obedience to the subpoena on the ground that the testimony or evidence required of the person may tend to incriminate the person or subject the person to a penalty or forfeiture under the laws of the State, but such person shall not be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing concerning which the person may testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, in such proceedings. Such person so testifying shall not be exempt, however, from prosecution and punishment for perjury committed in so testifying.

Any person who wilfully and unlawfully fails or neglects to appear or to testify or to produce books, papers, and records as required, shall, upon application to a circuit judge, be ordered to appear before the board, and failure to obey the order may be punished as a contempt of court.

Each witness who appears before the board by subpoena shall receive for the witness' attendance the fees and mileage provided for witnesses in civil cases in courts of record, which shall be audited and paid by the State in the same manner as other expenses are audited and paid, upon the presentation of properly verified vouchers approved by the board.

(c) A full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings had before the board and all testimony and proceedings shall be taken down by a reporter engaged for such purpose or by use of a mechanical recording device. It shall not be necessary to transcribe the record unless requested for purposes of rehearing or court review. In the proceedings the board shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence. No hearsay evidence, however, shall be admitted or considered.

(d) After the final hearing, the board shall promptly make and file an order or decision, incorporating findings of fact upon all the issues involved in the controversy and the determination of the rights of the parties. Pending the final determination of the controversy the board may, after hearing, make interlocutory orders which may be enforced in the same manner as final orders. Final orders may dismiss the complaint or require the person complained of to cease and desist from the unfair labor practices found to have been committed, suspend the person's rights, immunities, privileges, or remedies granted or afforded by this chapter for not more than one year, and require the person to take affirmative action, including reinstatement of employees and make orders in favor of employees making them whole, including back pay with interest, costs, and attorneys' fees. Any order may further require the person to make reports from time to time showing the extent to which the person has complied with the order. Furthermore, an employer or employee who wilfully or repeatedly commits unfair or prohibited practices that interfere with the statutory rights of an employer or employees or discriminates against an employer or employees for the exercise of protected conduct shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for each violation. In determining the amount of any penalty under this section, the board shall consider the gravity of the unfair or prohibited practice and the impact of the practice on the charging party, on other persons seeking to exercise rights guaranteed by this section, or on public interest.

(e) If any person fails or neglects to obey an order of the board while the same is in effect the board may petition the circuit judge of the judicial circuit wherein the person resides or usually transacts business for the enforcement of the order and for appropriate temporary relief or restraining order, and shall certify and file in the court the record in the proceedings, including all documents and papers on file in the matter, the pleadings and testimony upon which the order was entered, and the decision and order of the board. Upon such filing the board shall cause notice thereof to be served upon the person by mailing a copy to the person's last known post office address, and thereupon the judge shall have jurisdiction in the premises.

(f) Any person aggrieved by the decision or order of the board may obtain a review thereof as provided in chapter 91 by instituting proceedings in the circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the person or any party resides or transacts business, subject, however, to the general provisions of law for a change of the place of trial or the calling in of another judge. Where different parties in the same proceeding file petitions for review in two or more courts having proper jurisdiction, the jurisdiction of the judge first petitioned shall be exclusive and the other petitions shall be transferred to the judge. The petition shall state the grounds upon which a review is sought and copies thereof shall be served upon the other parties and the board. Service may be made by mailing such copies to the last known post office address of the parties concerned. When the proceedings are at issue, they may be brought on for hearing before the court upon the record by any party on ten days' written notice to the others. Upon the hearing, the court may confirm, modify, or set aside the decision or order of the board and enter an appropriate decree. No objection that has not been urged before the board shall be considered by the court unless the failure or neglect to urge the objection shall be excused because of extraordinary circumstances.

(g) In any proceedings for review of a decision or order of the board, the judge shall disregard any irregularity or error unless it is made to appear affirmatively that the complaining party was prejudiced thereby.

(h) Commencement of proceedings under subsection (f) of this section shall not stay enforcement of the board decisions or order; but the board, or the reviewing court may order a stay upon such terms as it deems proper.

(i) Petitions filed under this section shall have preference over any civil cause of a different nature pending in the circuit court, shall be heard expeditiously, and the circuit courts shall always be deemed open for the trial thereof.

(j) Any party may appeal from the judgment of a circuit court entered under this chapter, subject to chapter 602, in the manner provided for civil appeals from the circuit courts.

(k) A substantial compliance with the procedure of this chapter shall be sufficient to give effect to the decisions and orders of the board, and they shall not be declared inoperative, illegal, or void for any nonprejudicial irregularity in respect thereof.

(l) No complaints of any specific unfair labor practice shall be considered unless filed within ninety days of its occurrence.

(m) All documents filed with the board under this section shall be delivered to the board as:

(1) An original paper document; or

(2) An electronic version, filed by electronic service through a company designated by the board.

A document filed by electronic means shall be deemed an original document for the purposes of this section.

(n) For the purposes of this section, "document" includes all complaints, answers, motions, memoranda, declarations, exhibits, certificates of service, and other papers filed with the board. [L 1945, c 250, §9; am L 1951, c 249, §9; RL 1955, §90-10; am L 1965, c 96, §66 and c 244, §§4, 5; HRS §377-9; am L 1979, c 111, §16; am L 1985, c 251, §18; gen ch 1985; am L 2004, c 202, §37; am L 2006, c 94, §1; am L Sp 2009, c 6, §2; am L 2010, c 109, §1; am L 2016, c 191, §1; am L 2019, c 211, §2]

Cross References

Administrative procedure, see chapter 91.

Jurisdiction of courts, see §380-14.

Mailing of notice, see §1-28.

Oaths, subpoenas, see §§1-21, 603-21.9, 621-1, and 621-12.

Rules of Court

Appeals, see Hawaii Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Complaint in lieu of petition, see HRCP rules 3, 81(i).

Depositions, see HRCP, pt V.

Oaths, subpoenas, see HRCP rules 43(d), 45.

Case Notes

Circuit court proceeding for enforcement of H.E.R.B. order cannot be removed to federal court. 253 F. Supp. 597 (1966).

Based on the plain meaning of this Act, the legislature has granted discretion to the Hawaii labor relations board in crafting remedial orders when an employer has committed an unfair labor practice; where board's substantive remedy did not supply the terms of an ongoing collective bargaining relationship but rather was in the nature of a one-time payout calculated to remedy the unfair labor practice that the board found employer had committed, remedy was not unreasonable or in disregard of principles of law and was not an abuse of discretion. 112 H. 489, 146 P.3d 1066 (2006).

Discussed: 134 H. 489, 345 P.3d 155 (2015).

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