- - Thursday, April 12, 2012


SAN FRANCISCO — 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 and rest 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 Brinker International, the parent company of Chili’s and other eateries, by restaurant workers complaining of missed breaks in violation of California labor law.

But 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.


General Dynamics gets contract worth up to $64.5 million

Fairfax-based defense contractor General Dynamics Corp. said Thursday that its information technology division has received a contract from the Army to support the 160th Signal Brigade.

The five-year contract is worth up to $64.5 million if all options are exercised.


Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to near all-time low

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage dropped near its all-time low this week, making home-buying and refinancing a bargain for those who can qualify.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan fell to 3.88 percent from 3.98 percent. That’s just more than the rate of 3.87 percent reached in February, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.


Robot checking gulf floor for source of oil sheen

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