“…the high court sided with businesses when it ruled that requiring companies to order breaks is unmanageable and those decisions should be left to workers. The decision provided clarity that businesses had sought regarding the law…”
In a case that affects thousands of businesses and millions of workers, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that employers are under no obligation to ensure that workers take legally mandated lunch breaks.
The unanimous opinion came after workers’ attorneys argued that abuses are routine and widespread when companies aren’t required to issue direct orders to take the breaks. They claimed employers take advantage of workers who don’t want to leave colleagues during busy times.
The case was initially filed nine years ago against Dallas-based Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s and other eateries, by restaurant workers complaining of missed breaks in violation of California labor law.
The opinion written by Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar explained that state law does not compel an employer to ensure employees cease all work during meal periods. Instead, an employee is at liberty to use the time as they choose, she wrote.