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A black man who has been enslaved by his white boss for 5 years should receive $ 546,000 in compensation, a court ruled.


This undated photo provided by J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Conway, SC shows Bobby Paul Edwards. J. Reuben Long Detention Center via AP

  • In 2019, Bobby Paul Edwards was sentenced to 10 years in prison for enslaving an employee.

  • Edwards forced John Christopher Smith to work 100 hours a week without pay.

  • An appeals court recently ruled that Smith was entitled to $ 546,000 in restitution.

  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

An intellectually disabled man who has been enslaved by a restaurateur in South Carolina for five years should be awarded $ 546,000, a court ruled.

In 2019, Bobby Paul Edwards, owner of the J&J cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor for “forcing an African American with a developmental disability to work long hours in a restaurant without pay “. and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the Justice Department said in a press release at the time.

As part of the settlement, Edwards was also ordered to reimburse John Christopher Smith $ 273,000 in unpaid wages and overtime compensation.

Edwards forced Smith to work more than 100 hours a week without pay. He also beat him with a belt, fists and pots.

On April 21, 2020, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Smith was entitled to double that amount, which would be $ 546,000.

The court said the district court failed to properly consider federal labor laws when making the compensation decision.

“Minimum wage and overtime compensation must be paid as the work is performed, so that an employee receives the prescribed compensation without delay. When an employer does not pay these amounts, the employee suffers losses, including loss of use. of this money during the delay period, ”argued the court in its filing.

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