West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish
300 U.S. 379 (1937)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937)

West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish

No. 293

Argued December 16, 17, 1936

Decided March 29, 1937

300 U.S. 379

Syllabus

1. Deprivation of liberty to contract is forbidden by the Constitution if without due process of law, but restraint or regulation of this liberty, if reasonable in relation to its subject and if adopted for the protection of the community against evils menacing the health, safety, morals and welfare of the people, is due process. P. 300 U. S. 391.

2. In dealing with the relation of employer and employed, the legislature has necessarily a wide field of discretion in order that there may be suitable protection of health and safety, and that peace and good order may be promoted through regulations designed to insure wholesome conditions of work and freedom from oppression. P. 300 U. S. 393.

3. The State has a special interest in protecting women against employment contracts which through poor working conditions, long hours or scant wages may leave them inadequately supported and undermine their health; because:

(1) The health of women is peculiarly related to the vigor of the race;

(2) Women are especially liable to be overreached and exploited by unscrupulous employers; and

(3) This exploitation and denial of a living wage is not only detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the women affected, but casts a direct burden for their support upon the community. Pp. 300 U. S. 394, 300 U. S. 398, et seq.

4. Judicial notice is taken of the unparalleled demands for relief which arose during the recent period of depression and still continue to an alarming extent despite the degree of economic recovery which has been achieved. P. 300 U. S. 399.

5. A state law for the setting of minimum wages for women is not an arbitrary discrimination because it does not extend to men. P. 300 U. S. 400.

6. A statute of the State of Washington (Laws, 1913, c. 174; Remington's Rev.Stats., 1932, § 7623 et seq.) providing for the establishment of minimum wages for women, held valid. Adkins v. Children's Hospital,261 U. S. 525, is overruled; Morehead v. New York ex rel. Tipaldo,298 U. S. 587, distinguished. P. 300 U. S. 400.

185 Wash. 581; 55 P.2d 1083, affirmed.

Page 300 U. S. 380

This was an appeal from a judgment for money directed by the Supreme Court of Washington, reversing the trial court, in an action by a chambermaid against a hotel company to recover the difference between the amount of wages paid or tendered to her as per contract and a larger amount computed on the minimum wage fixed by a state board or commission.

Page 300 U. S. 386

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