Facts of the Case
Oregon enacted a law that limited women to ten hours of work in factories and laundries. The owner of a laundry business, Curt Muller, was fined $10 when he violated the law. Muller appealed the conviction. The state supreme court upheld the law’s constitutionality.
Does an Oregon law limiting the hours women are allowed to work violate the Fourteenth Amendment?
The Court unanimously upheld the Oregon regulation. The Court distinguished Lochner v. New York, which invalidated a similar law restricting the hours of bakers, on the basis of the “difference between the sexes.” The Court reasoned that the child-bearing nature and social role of women provided a strong state interest in reducing their working hours.