Ruling On Work Hours Seen As Blow To Equality Drive

1908

In 1903, Oregon passed a law limiting the number of hours a woman could work in a laundry to 10 hours a day. Laundry owner Curt Muller sued, saying the law was an unconstitutional violation of employers’ “liberty to contract” with employees. In this case, Muller v. State of Oregon, the Court votes unanimously to uphold the law. Although seemingly a victory for women because it improved their working conditions, the decision proves to be a setback in the drive toward equality because men face none of the same limits and because women need special protection that their male counterparts did not need.