The Department of Labor has filed a lawsuit against the owner of an auto repair shop in Georgia for paying one of his employees in pennies. Last year, Andreas Flaten quit his job at A OK Walker Autoworks but never received his final paycheck.
Flaten was not happy he wasn’t going to be paid and contacted the Department of Labor to file a complaint against the owner, Miles Walker.
The Labor Department began an investigation into the matter and reached out to Walker, who said he had no intention of giving Flaten his final paycheck.
Walker quickly changed his mind and decided to pay Flaten in pennies. He put over 91,000 pennies in a wheelbarrow and left them in Flaten’s driveway along with a copy of his final paystub that had an expletive written on it.
“Within hours of learning that Mr. Flaten had complained to [the Wage and Hour Division] about not receiving his last paycheck, defendants decided to pay Mr. Flaten in pennies,” the lawsuit says.
The agency claims that Walker retaliated against Flaten for filing a complaint against him, which is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, investigators accused Walker of failing to keep detailed employment records and not paying his employees overtime.
“By law, worker engagement with the U.S. Department of Labor 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 Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “Workers and employers should feel free to contact the Wage and Hour Division. In fact, all employers should review their employment practices and contact the division to discuss questions they have regarding their responsibilities under the law.”