South Carolina Man Who Forced Black Man to Work Nearly 10 Years Without Pay Owes Him Over $270,000 in Restitution

Bobby Edwards, a South Carolina restaurant manager, was sentenced to prison for 10 years.

A South Carolina man who was forced to work over 100 hours every week for years without pay and subjected to verbal and physical abuse was supposed to receive close to $273,000 in restitution after his former manager pleaded guilty.

But that initial amount was too low, an appellate court ruled in April. The man should have received more than double that amount — closer to $546,000 — from the manager to account for federal labor laws, according to the ruling.

John Christopher Smith was forced to work at a cafeteria in Conway without pay for years. His manager, Bobby Edwards, pleaded guilty to forced labor in 2018 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his abuse of Smith, a Black man who has intellectual disabilities.

A US District Court judge in 2019 ordered Edwards, who is White, to pay Smith around $273,000 in restitution, which represented Smith’s unpaid wages and overtime.

But the court “erred in failing to include liquidated damages” in the restitution, a provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that would’ve doubled the amount of restitution Smith received, according to the April ruling from the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals based in Richmond, Virginia.

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SOURCE: CNN, Scottie Andrew

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