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Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive

Significance, Protective Legislation, Gender Segregation, The First Round, Appeals Court Overrules, Impact


Thelma Bowe et al.


Colgate-Palmolive Company and International Chemical Workers Union, Local #15

Appellants' Claim

That companies do not have the right to segregate jobs on the basis of gender by limiting women to less strenuous jobs.

Chief Lawyer for Appellants

Marion W. Garnett

Chief Lawyer for Appellees

Herbert L. Segal


Walter J. Cummings, Otto Kerner, Henry S. Wise


Chicago, Illinois

Date of Decision

26 September 1969


Companies may not use job classification systems that discriminate on the basis of gender. If a weight-lifting limit is used as a general guideline, it must apply to both men and women--providing employees the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for physically demanding jobs on an individual basis.

Related Cases

  • Adkins v. Children's Hospital, 261 U.S. 525 (1923).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Vol. 2. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972