A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Virginia, ruled on April 21 that the initial ruling of John Christopher Smith’s entitlements were flawed, citing that “liquidated damages” were excluded. Smith will now be owed $546,000.
The 4th Circuit cited a 1945 U.S. Supreme Court case that found liquidated damages provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires a double payment to someone owed wages that would restore the injured party to a minimum standard of living.
The initial ruling followed allegations that Smith’s former manager at J&J Cafeteria in South Carolina had physically and mentally abused him, as well as having forced him to work more than 100 hours a week without pay from 2009 to 2014.
Smith reportedly had an intellectual disability and an IQ of approximately 70 when he worked at the restaurant, the court said. He had been employed by the restaurant since he was 12 years old but had always been paid until Bobby Edwards took over managing the restaurant in 2009, according to the report.
The court ruled that Edwards’s management style toward Smith had “effectively enslaved” his employee, also noting that Edwards was a white man in charge of Smith, who is black.
The court said Edwards was physically abused by Smith, who beat him with his belt and kitchen pans and punched him. In one instance, the manager allegedly dipped metal tongs into hot grease and branded Smith’s neck.
“Edwards effected this forced labor by taking advantage of Jack’s intellectual disability and keeping Jack isolated from his family, threatening to have him arrested, and verbally abusing him,” the court said in its ruling.
Smith was removed from the restaurant in 2014 after a relative of another restaurant employee reported the abuses to the state Department of Social Services.
Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
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- ^ ARKANSAS WOMAN SAYS SHE WAS FIRED AFTER CORONAVIRUS VACCINE REFUSAL (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
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