SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – In a case that could affect thousands of California employers and millions of workers, the state Supreme Court will decide whether managers must order workers to take rest and meal breaks at regular intervals throughout the workday. The court was scheduled to issue its ruling Thursday. The question is whether state law requires an employer to simply “provide” meal breaks to employees, or whether it must also “ensure” those breaks are taken at certain times during shifts. The case was filed in 2004 by restaurant workers employed by Brinker International, which owns Chili’s and other eateries. The workers argue that by not ordering the breaks, employers are taking advantage of employees who don’t want to leave during busy times. Brinker counters that break timing should be left to an employee’s discretion.
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