A lawsuit has been filed by the Department of Labor against an auto shop in Georgia. The defendant, identified to be A OK Walker Autoworks owned by Miles Walker, allegedly failed to pay a former employee, Andreas Flaten, his final paycheck worth $915.
It would have been solved by simply writing a check, but Walker decided to pull off a little stunt: pay Flaten using over 91,000 pennies, according to a report by Business Insider.
According to the complaint, it was in January when Flaten contacted the Wage and Hours Division of the US Department of Labor to report the non-payment of his final paycheck by his previous employer. Walker initially didn't want to pay Flaten but later decided otherwise, but in an interesting way.
From the complaint:
How can you make this guy realize what a disgusting example of a human being he is …. [Y]ou know what? I’ve got plenty of pennies; I’ll use them.
True enough, Walker left approximately 91,500 pennies on Flaten's driveway on March 12, 2021. There was also a paycheck left on top of the pennies but not without expletives written on it, according to the complaint.
This prompted the Department of Labor to look further into the employer's books and came up with the lawsuit. Allegedly, Walker's company has "repeatedly and willfully" failed to pay time and a half for overtime. The company only relied on a flat rate regardless of the hours worked in a week.
Walker isn't letting up without a fight and posted a statement of his own via his company's website to provide a narrative from his viewpoint:
Here are some details about what really happened. The many lies perpetuated by the former employee, his girlfriend, and the media are vast!
#1 The U.S. Dept of labor approved his payment! We specifically asked if we could pay him in cash of any denomination. The U.S. Dept of labor stated on record that they did not care how he was paid, just pay him.
#2 There were no laws broken. Two law enforcement professionals were consulted before hand. As well as a civil attorney and a criminal attorney.
#3 There were exactly 100,003 pennies, 750 dimes, 2 quarters, a nickel, and his pay stub in the pile. That is a lot more than what we were legally obligated to give him. Why so much more? We figured that he would have had enough intelligence to just have the pennies counted and exchanged. The most expensive change processor we could find charged 10%. We wanted to make sure he got every penny he requested!
#4 The whole event was filmed from start to finish! We have it!
#5 This was done during daylight hours. We arrived at his home at 6:30 PM and spoke to the former employee face to face to explain that we had his money. And that it would be placed at the top of his driveway. He accepted!
#6 No one employed by A OK Walker put grease on the pennies. In our opinion the former employee and his girlfriend did that to make this more explosive. And go figure the keyboard warriors just ate it up. Sad! The one thing they proved is pure ignorance on their part. If its on the internet its true didn't you know!
#7 Pennies are cash! They are federally backed United States currency and are good for all debts public or private. EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW THIS! If you need proof just ask Coin-star. Remember they bought them for profit!
The rant continued on but with a separate issue.
The company has already received several backlashes from various sources. According to Walker, his company has received "80+ death threats, the thousands of overly aggressive phone calls, the thousands of disturbing e-mails, the thousands of FALSE reviews, and the gag gifts..."
Flaten has a message to workers who are in a similar situation as what he's in right now.
"They definitely should not be scared to reach out," he told Business Insider. "Speak up. Don't be quiet about it. Because if you're quiet about it, it's just going to continue to happen to you and everybody else."