Business enterprise proprietor paid out ex-employee with 91,000 pennies. That is retaliation, feds declare in lawsuit.

Soon after a former worker of A Okay Walker Autoworks submitted a criticism with condition labor regulators in 2021 accusing the proprietor of failing to problem his closing paycheck of $915, he acquired an unwelcome shock: a mountain of 91,000 pennies, included in oil, dumped in his driveway. 

But the employee, Andreas Flaten, may well be having the final chortle. The U.S. Department of Labor has submitted a lawsuit in opposition to the Peachtree, Ga-dependent auto restore store and operator Miles Walker soon after determining that the stunt amounted to retaliation. 

In accordance to the government’s grievance, Walker made a decision to shell out Flaten in pennies inside of hrs of finding out that he experienced contacted regulators above his missing paycheck.

“How can you make this man notice what a disgusting case in point of a human becoming he is…,” Walker said, the Labor Division alleged in the go well with. “[Y]ou know what? I’ve acquired a great deal of pennies I’l use them.”

A worker engaging with the Labor Office is guarded underneath federal legislation, in accordance to the agency. “Employees are entitled to obtain details about their legal rights in the workplace and obtain the wages they attained devoid of dread of harassment or intimidation,” an official with the agency’s wage and hour division in Atlanta said in a statement Wednesday. 

The Labor Department also identified that Walker had illegally deprived other staff at the shop of additional time pay, as effectively as failing to maintain right shell out and get the job done information. It is inquiring a U.S. district court docket in Ga to bar the defendants from any long run breaches of the Honest Labor Standards Act, which includes retaliation and additional time violations.

A assertion posted on A Ok Walker Autoworks’ web site, labeled “pennies,” reported the corporation requested the Labor Office if it was permitted to shell out Flaten “in hard cash of any denomination” and that the company did not provide specific guidance (The firm removed the statement from its web site on Friday.) The repair service shop also denied placing oil on the coins. 

“There had been specifically 100,003 pennies, 750 dimes, 2 quarters, a nickel, and his spend stub in the pile,” the put up states. “That is a lot far more than what we were legally obligated to give him. Why so much additional? We figured that he would have experienced sufficient intelligence to just have the pennies counted and exchanged.”

An staff of the automobile store declined to comment and claimed she did not know how to speak to Walker.

Just after the Labor Section submitted its grievance, Flaten instructed Company Insider he would inspire other employees who truly feel they are wrongly denied their wages to file a criticism.

“They absolutely ought to not be worried to attain out,” he instructed the information outlet. “Discuss up. Don’t be quiet about it. For the reason that if you might be tranquil about it, it truly is just likely to proceed to materialize to you and every person else.”

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