Boss sued after paying worker with more than 90,000 oil-covered pennies in bitter pay dispute

Employee had received $915 pay in oil-covered pennies dumped on his driveway

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 06 January 2022 18:06
<p>Andreas Flaten moved the more than 90,000 oil-covered pennies from his driveway to a wheelbarrow, causing its tires to deflate </p>

Andreas Flaten moved the more than 90,000 oil-covered pennies from his driveway to a wheelbarrow, causing its tires to deflate

A Georgia auto repair shop owner has been sued after he dumped more than 90,000 oil-covered pennies in a former employee’s driveway last year in a bitter pay dispute after the employee resigned.

The US Department of Labour has filed a federal complaint against the auto repair shop A OK Walker Autoworks and its owner, Miles Walker, for allegedly violating retaliation prohibition and overtime laws.

The department is seeking $36,971 (£27,324) in back wages and other damages after investigators found that the owner retaliated against the employee after he resigned.

The complaint comes months after the employee Andreas Flaten, from Fayetteville, Georgia, went public with his allegations that Mr Walker dumped grease-covered pennies on his driveway as his last pay stub along with a note that read “f*** you” placed on top.

Mr Flaten resigned in November 2020 but did not receive his final pay cheque of $915 (£676) until nearly four months later.

The heap of pennies blocked and stained Mr Flaten’s driveway and took him nearly seven hours to remove, the labour department noted in a press release.

The employee said he moved the pennies off his drive and into a wheelbarrow in his garage, but their weight caused the tyres to deflate.

“If I’ve done my math correctly, 91,515 pennies should come out to be about - at two and a half grams each - about 504lbs,” Mr Flaten told Fox 5.

He described the form of payment as “a childish thing to do” and revealed that his new routine at night was to wash the substance off of the pennies.

The Department of Labour’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Mr Walker not only retaliated and published defamatory statements about the former employee on the company’s website but also violated the Fair Labour Standards Act.

The employer violated the overtime provisions by failing to pay the legally required overtime rate when they worked more than 40 hours during a work week.

He also failed to keep adequate and accurate records of employees’ pay rates and work hours.

“By law, worker engagement with the US Department of Labour is protected activity. Workers are entitled to receive information about their rights in the workplace and obtain the wages they earned without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said Steven Salazar, a Wage and Hour Division district director.

The department said it seeks to prevent the company and its owner from future retaliation and violation of overtime and recordkeeping rules.

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