Riley v. Massachusetts - 232 U.S. 671 (1914)
U.S. Supreme Court
Riley v. Massachusetts, 232 U.S. 671 (1914)
Riley v. Massachusetts
Argued March 4, 5, 1914
Decided March 23, 1914
232 U.S. 671
A state statute limiting the hours of labor in factories for women, if otherwise valid, is not unconstitutional as depriving the employer or employee of property without due process of law by limiting the right to buy and sell labor and infringing the liberty of contract in that respect. Muller v. Oregon, 208 U. S. 412.
It being competent for the state to restrict the hours of employment of a class of laborers, it is also competent for the state to provide administrative means against evasion of such restrictions. C., B. & Q. Ry. v. McGuire, 219 U. S. 549.
The wisdom and legality of the means adopted by the legislature to enforce proper restrictions on employment of labor cannot be judged by extreme instances of their operation.
Section 48 of the Labor Act of 1909 of Massachusetts, regulating the hours of labor of women in factories, is not an unconstitutional denial of due process of law because it provides for the posting of a schedule of hours and requires the hours to be stipulated in advance and followed until a change is made. The provision is reasonable, and not arbitrary.
A provision in a state statute that the form of notice in which employees' hours of labor are scheduled shall be approved by the Attorney General of the state does not deny equal protection of the law if the approval is confined to the form of notice, and not to the schedules which might provide for different hours in different cases.
In this case, the conviction by the state court of one in whose factory in Massachusetts women were permitted to work during the period scheduled as dinner hour, under § 48 of the Labor Act of 1909 of Massachusetts, sustained, and held that such statute is not unconstitutional under either the due process or equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.
210 Mass. 387 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality under the due process and equal protection of the law provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Woman's Labor Act of Massachusetts, are stated in the opinion.