Protective Labor Legislation, with Special Reference to Women in the State of New York

By Elizabeth Faulkner Baker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
ENFORCEMENT OF LEGISLATION

PART 1: GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

WE have seen that the enactment of protective legislation is frequently a very difficult matter; but we have further to see that the enforcement of such legislation is far more difficult. And, obviously, the matter of enforcement is one of major importance. After the enactment of laws, the courts determine whether they may live, their enforcement determines whether they do live.

The difficulties in the way of administration of labor legislation are numerous and complicated; they are probably the most frequent cause of the failure of legal efficiency. The analysis of these difficulties assumes a three-fold aspect, namely: the degree to which the statute is approved by those concerned; the nature of the statute itself; and the nature and adequacy of the machinery for administration.

Law enforcement is perhaps as much a creature of the determined attitudes of special groups, as is the enactment of the legislation. Acts are adopted or rejected as a result of legislative hearings, with lobbyists playing an active rôle. If the two opposed groups are well matched, the act is likely to be passed, but with some omission or modifying clause that renders it practically impotent. The New York act regulating the hours of men in brickyards is a case in point, by which men may be permitted but not "required" to work more than ten hours a day. Again, if the forces are poorly matched, or if the influence is entirely one-sided. the act may

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