Labor Relations.

Objections to labor legislation on the ground that the limitation of particular regulations to specified industries was obnoxious to the Equal Protection Clause have been consistently overruled.1613 Statutes limiting hours of labor for employees in mines, smelters,1614 mills, factories,1615 or on public works1616 have been sustained. And a statute forbidding persons engaged in mining and manufacturing to issue orders for payment of labor unless redeemable at face value in cash was similarly held unobjectionable.1617 The exemption of mines employing fewer than ten persons from a law pertaining to measurement of coal to determine a miner’s wages is not unreasonable.1618 All corporations1619 or public service corporations1620 may be required to issue to employees who leave their service letters stating the nature of the service and the cause of leaving even though other employers are not so required.

Industries may be classified in a workers’ compensation act according to the respective hazards of each,1621 and the exemption of farm laborers and domestic servants does not render such an act invalid.1622 A statute providing that no person shall be denied opportunity for employment because he is not a member of a labor union does not offend the Equal Protection Clause.1623 At a time when protective labor legislation generally was falling under “liberty of contract” applications of the Due Process Clause, the Court generally approved protective legislation directed solely to women workers,1624 and this solicitude continued into present times in the approval of laws that were more questionable,1625 but passage of the sex discrimination provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has generally called into question all such protective legislation addressed solely to women.1626

Footnotes

1613
Central State Univ. v. American Ass’n of Univ. Professors, 526 U.S. 124 (1999) (upholding limitation on the authority of public university professors to bargain over instructional workloads). [Back to text]
1614
Holden v. Hardy, 169 U.S. 366 (1988). [Back to text]
1615
Bunting v. Oregon, 243 U.S. 426 (1917). [Back to text]
1616
Atkin v. Kansas, 191 U.S. 207 (1903). [Back to text]
1617
Keokee Coke Co. v. Taylor, 234 U.S. 224 (1914). See also Knoxville Iron Co. v. Harbison, 183 U.S. 13 (1901). [Back to text]
1618
McLean v. Arkansas, 211 U.S. 539 (1909). [Back to text]
1619
Prudential Ins. Co. v. Cheek, 259 U.S. 530 (1922). [Back to text]
1620
Chicago, R.I. & P. Ry. v. Perry, 259 U.S. 548 (1922). [Back to text]
1621
Mountain Timber Co. v. Washington, 243 U.S. 219 (1917). [Back to text]
1622
New York Central R.R. v. White, 243 U.S. 188 (1917); Middletown v. Texas Power & Light Co., 249 U.S. 152 (1919); Ward & Gow v. Krinsky, 259 U.S. 503 (1922). [Back to text]
1623
Lincoln Fed. Labor Union v. Northwestern Iron & Metal Co., 335 U.S. 525 (1949). Nor is it a denial of equal protection for a city to refuse to withhold from its employees’ paychecks dues owing their union, although it withholds for taxes, retirement-insurance programs, saving programs, and certain charities, because its offered justification that its practice of allowing withholding only when it benefits all city or department employees is a legitimate method to avoid the burden of withholding money for all persons or organizations that request a checkoff. City of Charlotte v. Firefighters, 426 U.S. 283 (1976). [Back to text]
1624
E.g., Muller v. Oregon, 208 U.S. 412 (1908). [Back to text]
1625
Goesaert v. Cleary, 335 U.S. 464 (1948). [Back to text]
1626
Title VII, 78 Stat. 253, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. On sex discrimination generally, see “Classifications Meriting Close Scrutiny—Sex,” supra. [Back to text]