Black man beaten, made to work without pay in Conway restaurant entitled to $546K – Florence, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina 2021-05-04 14:45:09 –

Richmond, Virginia (AP) —A black man with intellectual disabilities was sentenced to imprisonment after being enslaved, beaten, and forced to work unpaid at a restaurant in Conway for more than 100 hours a week. I was ordered to pay $ 273,000 in compensation.

However, the Federal Court of Appeals recently ruled that men have the right to double that amount under federal labor law.

A committee of three judges from the Richmond-based Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said when judges in the U.S. District Court did not include an additional $ 273,000 as “liquidated damages” in their compensation order. I found that I made a mistake. Under the April 21 ruling, the court stated that John Christopher Smith was entitled to a total of $ 546,000 in damages. The Court of Appeals sent the case back to the lower court to recalculate the damages.

The ruling alleges that Bobby Edwards, Smith’s manager at J & J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina, abused him physically and mentally, forcing him to work more than 100 hours a week unpaid for more than five years. happened. From 2009 to 2014.

Smith, who has an intellectual disability and IQ of about 70, has been working in a restaurant since he was about 12 years old. During the first 19 years of his employment, Smith was always paid for his work when the restaurant was owned and managed by various members of the Edwards family.

It changed in 2009 Bobby Edwards I took over the management of the restaurant. According to the story contained in the judgment of the Fourth Circuit, the white Edwards “effectively enslave” Smith, move him to an apartment attached to a restaurant, and work unpaid for up to 18 hours a day.

“Edwards used Jack’s intellectual disability to quarantine Jack from his family, threaten to arrest him, and verbally abuse him to do this forced labor,” the court said in a ruling.

The court also said Edwards had physically abused Smith by beating him with a belt, beating him in a kitchen pot, beating him, and once dipping a metal tong in hot grease and burning his neck. ..

The South Carolina Department of Social Services took Smith out of the restaurant after a relative of a restaurant employee told authorities about the abuse in 2014.

Edwards was found guilty of one count of forced labor and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. The judge ordered Edwards to pay Smith about $ 273,000 in damages and refused to add damages.

In the ruling, the Fourth Circuit ensured that workers would return to a minimum level of well-being if the liquidated damages clause of the Fair Labor Standards Act did not pay the statutory minimum amount in time. A life in which that double payment must be made in order to do so.

“For this reason, it is’standard’to give liquidated damages for violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions,” Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote to the panel in a 3-0 decision.

Edwards’ lawyer, assistant federal defender Emily Deck Haril, was not immediately asked to comment on the Fourth Circuit’s decision. A message was left in her office.

The Federal Attorney’s Office in South Carolina refused to comment on the decision. The US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Department did not immediately respond to emails asking for comment.

Black man beaten, made to work without pay in Conway restaurant entitled to $546K Source link Black man beaten, made to work without pay in Conway restaurant entitled to $546K

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