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Economic and Labor Rights

State constitutions include provisions protecting economic liberty, or the right to engage in work without undue interference; property rights, including protections against takings; and provisions that protect workers’ rights. Florida’s constitution, for example, protects the right “to be rewarded for industry,” and Montana protects the right to pursue “life’s basic necessities.” Illinois’s constitution protects workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively. Washington’s privileges and immunities clause has been used to strike down a law excluding dairy workers from overtime pay. 

State supreme courts hear challenges related to business regulations and occupational licensing requirements, dangerous work environments, inadequate wages and hour requirements, collective bargaining rights, public employee benefits, and other issues.

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A project of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law