A black man who was enslaved by a restaurant manager from 2009 to 2014 should have been paid more money after his buddy pleaded guilty, according to a South Carolina appellate court.
In 2019, John “Jack” Christopher Smith, representing minimum wage and overtime, he was not rightly paid while working at J&J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina.
Smith, who has an intellectual disability and an IQ of 70, was forced to work more than 100 hours a week without pay by Bobby Edwards, who took over the management of J&J Cafeteria in 2009.
Smith had been working at the restaurant as a dishwasher since 1
In 2019, Edwards pleaded guilty to a case of forced labor, and the district court sentenced him to 120 months in prison. At the time, U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Lydon said Edwards “has earned every day of his sentence” for stealing “his victim’s freedom and wages.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office does not tolerate forced or exploitative work in South Carolina, and we are grateful to the attentive citizen and our law enforcement partners who put an end to this particularly heinous violence,” Lydon said.
Edwards was also ordered to pay nearly $ 273,000 in restitution to Smith, but the government requested an additional $ 272,952.96 in liquidated compensation. However, the district court denied the request.
Now, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals says the previous refund did not take into account federal labor laws that eligible Smith for a total of $ 546,000.
The court said that when an employer fails to pay, the employee suffers losses, including “the loss of use of that money during the delay period.”
So to fully compensate Smith for further losses, the size of his repayment should be doubled, the court suggests. The appellate court has deprived the district court of awarding the refund and asks for recalculation.