Restaurant Manager Ordered To Pay $500K To Black Employee He ENSLAVED & Forced To Work For Five Years
It’s unbelievable to even think about how somebody thought this was something they should do for any length of time, let alone FIVE YEARS…
Bobby Paul Edwards (pictured in the mugshot, above) is a former restaurant manager who is now serving a 10-year prison sentence in South Carolina for forced labor. This week, he was ordered by a judge to pay more than $500,000 to the Black man he’d forced to work nearly without pay for five years.
According to The Post and Courier, the 56-year-old Edwards took over as manager at the family-run J&J Cafeteria (pictured above) in Conway, South Carolina in 2009. At that point, he forced John Christopher Smith, a Black man with developmental disabilities who’d been working as a buffet cook at the restaurant for years, to start working more than 100 hours per week without pay.
Edwards not only forced Smith to work against his will for those 100+ hour weeks at the South Carolina restaurant, he provided Smith an apartment to live in which the victim’s attorneys called “sub human.” As Edwards’ hold on the family business grew in the years after 2009, he stopped paying Smith altogether, forced him to work seven days a week, and “frequently berated him with racial slurs and threats” while keeping the poor man away from his family and in a constant state of agitation, according to reports.
Social workers who noticed bruises on Smith’s body eventually caught on to Edwards’ horrific enslavement and forced labor situation. In 2019, he pleaded guilty to the above-mentioned charge and landed in prison. Smith, who had worked at the restaurant (legally) since he was a 12-year-old in 1990 was thankfully freed from what had been five horrific years of abuse, inhumane treatment, and quite literal enslavement from 2009 through 2014.
At the time of Edwards’ conviction, Smith was granted almost $300,000 in back payment and restitution, seeming to seal the deal on a horrific time in the poor man’s life.
But now, the story is in the news because a judge has ruled upon appeal that Smith actually deserves $546,000 for those five years of horrific, forced labor.
The appeals court did the math — literally — and factored in reports of how Smith was forced to work 18-hour shifts six days a week, along with an 11-hour stint on Sundays, with no pay for his work and no breaks. The minimum amount owed came out to the original payment order of $273,000.
But according to the appeals court, which cited federal labor laws, Smith deserved far more money because of the delay in receiving the pay. In part, the appeals court’s ruling noted (below):
“(W)hen an employer fails to pay those amounts (regular and overtime pay), the employee suffers losses, which includes the loss of the use of that money during the period of delay.”
Of course, “regular and overtime pay” is literally the least of the concerns here, considering Edwards’ disgusting enslavement of Smith for five years of the poor man’s life.
Here’s more on Edwards’ original sentence after the horrifying situation was first uncovered back in 2017 (below):
What a disgusting thing to do, and keep doing, for five full years.
What would’ve happened if Edwards had never been caught?!
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