Employer

Georgia employer faces Labor Department lawsuit after paying staff member pennies

The US Department of Labor said this week it was pursuing a Georgia owner of an auto repair shop who allegedly paid a departing employee over 91,000 cents.

“This is my last paycheck. Nine hundred and fifteen dollars in pennies,” Andreas Flaten, a Fayetteville resident and former employee of A OK Walker Autoworks in Peachtree City, told FOX 5 in Atlanta.

The Labor Department lawsuit names defendant company owner Miles Walker who allegedly retaliated against Flaten in a dispute over his latest paycheck, according to the report.

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According to the complaint, Flaten resigned from the auto store in November 2020 and Walker did not issue him a final check.

Flaten said local station WGCL-TV that Walker promised him $ 915 by January 2021, but the money never came.

The pile of pennies in Andreas Flaten’s driveway. (Olivia Oxley / Fox News)

Flaten then challenged the missing salary that same month, via a request to the Department of Labor, which followed up with Walker.

The business owner informed the ministry’s wages and hours division that he would not pay the money, but ultimately delivered it to Flaten’s Alley – in a pile of greased pennies.

The former employee estimated the pile, which he put in a wheelbarrow, to weigh over 500 pounds. The wheels of Flaten’s wheelbarrow flattened under the load.

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The action was retaliation and a violation of the employee’s rights to be paid properly, according to the lawsuit.

“An employee has the right to understand what his rights are and to ensure that he is being paid correctly. Whenever he questions the employer, whether verbally or in writing or even by contacting our office, that employee has the right not to suffer retaliation or discrimination ”, Steven Salazar, district director of the Wages and Schedules division, told FOX 5.

The place where the pennies were thrown. (Olivia Oxley / Fox News)

Additionally, Walker’s wheelbarrow contained an explicit note and he used the auto store’s official website to post defamatory comments about the former employee, according to the report.

Flaten also claims Walker still owes him about $ 37,000 in back pay and damages, according to the report.

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After the initial story broke in March, Walker said via the auto store’s website that the company had received aggressive comments and even death threats, FOX 5 reported.