When Jamaica Choice owner Dalmain Grant suffered a stroke early this year, his wife took on business partners, a group of individuals operating as “Golden Essence,” in hopes of selling his restaurant to them down the line. Now that plan may have hit a snag: a stop-work order was posted on the door of Jamaica Choice on December 12. According to the information on the neon-orange sign, the business has been closed by order of the chair of the Workers’ Compensation Board of the State of New York, because “the employer has failed to secure workers’ compensation coverage.”
In addition to the closure, failure to provide workers’ compensation is a misdemeanor with its less than five employees, or a class E felony for a greater number. The criminal penalties can be up to $5,000 for the misdemeanor, or up to $50,000 if it is a felony. In addition, there are penalties ranging from $2,000 to twice the payroll for each ten-day period of lapsed coverage; the notice posted indicates that records were not provided to state officials which means that the penalty “shall be the New York state average weekly wage, multiplied by 1.5,” according to section 52 of state workers’ compensation law.
According to Melissa Stewart at the Workers’ Compensation Board office, “A stop work order was issued to Jamaica Choice Caribbean Cuisine Inc. on December 12, 2018, after a field stop revealed two employees had no workers’ compensation or disability coverage, as well as outstanding penalties for other prior periods of no coverage. This remains an open investigation.”