Workers at Chili’s restaurants brought the lawsuit nine years ago, charging that the company was taking advantage of them by not making sure they took breaks. (By the way, states have widely varying rules on breaks, from California’s demand that employees get a 30-minute break after more than five consecutive hours of work, to Pennsylvania’s decree that employers need not give adults breaks at all.) But as anyone who’s ever done restaurant work knows, it’s hard to find time to squeeze in a 30-minute break, especially in the middle of a shift, which is likely to coincide with the lunch (or dinner) rush.
Office workers are maybe just as unable (or unwilling) to take breaks, too. When’s the last time you took a leisurely lunch away from your cube, when you just chilled and didn’t answer emails? A widely reported survey by HR consultants Right Management found that 65 percent of respondents ate at their desks, or didn’t even bother taking a break.
That eating-at-your-desk part has created some unintended consequences. In 2010, Britain’s Royal Society of Chemistry told the Daily Mail that keyboard crumbs were getting so endemic that mice were overrunning offices and leaving droppings everywhere. (One worker wondered what the “seeds” were coming out of her keyboard as she typed.)
Maybe the California Supreme Court would be okay about requiring employers to provide computers with keyless keyboards? Then again, maybe not.