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Associated Press reports at Fox News The California Supreme  Court ruled Thursday that employers are under no obligation to ensure that  workers take legally mandated lunch breaks in a case that affects thousands of  businesses and millions of workers.

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 Californialabor law.

But the high court sided with businesses when it ruled that requiring  companies to order breaks is unmanageable and that those decisions should be  left to workers. The decision provided clarity that businesses had sought  regarding the 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. It stated that while employers are required to free workers of job  duties for a 30-minute meal break, the employee is at liberty to use the time as  they choose even if it’s to work, she wrote.

“The employer is not obligated to police meal breaks and ensure no work  thereafter is performed,” Werdegar wrote.

Read more: Fox News