BUNTING v. OREGON
A 1913 state law prescribed a 10-hour day for men and women, expanding the law regulating women's hours upheld in Muller v. Oregon. The measure also required time-and-a-half wages for overtime up to 3 hours a day. The State asserted that the law was an appropriate exercise of its police powers. Bunting failed to comply with the overtime regulations of the statute.
Did the law interfere with liberty of contract protected by the Fourteenth Amendment?
The Court upheld the decision of the Oregon Supreme Court and found the law constitutional. Relying on the justifications made by the Oregon court and legislature, Justice McKenna dismissed Bunting's contention that the law did nothing to preserve the health of employees. The Court found that the law did not provide an unfair advantage to certain types of employers in the labor market since it regulated the hours of service for workers and not the wages that they earned. Under the Oregon statute, workers and their employers were still free to implement a wage scheme which was agreeable to both of them.