A court ruled that a South Carolina man with an intellectual disability will be paid $546,000 in damages after a restaurant owner enslaved him for 5 years.
Bobby Paul Edwards, the owner of the J&J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor in 2019 and was sentenced to ten years in prison for “coercing an African–American man with an intellectual disability to work extensive hours at a restaurant with no pay,” according to a press release from the Justice Department.
Edwards was also ordered to pay John Christopher Smith $273,000 in unpaid wages and overtime payments as part of the settlement.
Smith was asked to work over 100 hours a week without pay by Edwards. He would also beat him with a belt, fists, and pots and pans, according to the press release.
The Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled on April 21 that Smith was entitled to double that amount at $546,000.
When deciding on compensation, the district court did not adequately account for federal labor regulations.
The court said in its filing that “Minimum wages and overtime compensation must be paid on a current basis as work is done, such that an employee receives the prescribed compensation without delay. When an employer fails to pay those amounts, the employee suffers losses, which includes the loss of the use of that money during the period of delay.”