37,000 reasons to NOT pay an employee’s last paycheck with 91,000 oil-soaked pennies…

Thankfully, this story does not involve a firefighter, fire department or a public safety organization for that matter. However, the facts involved here are too good not to share.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a Georgia auto repair shop for allegedly violating the FLSA after he paid one of his former employee’s final paycheck in the form of 91,500 oil-soaked pennies. Yes, you read that correctly: 91,500 oil-soaked pennies.

This story begins in January 2021 when Andreas Flaten, a former employee of A OK Walker Autoworks, an auto repair shop located in Peachtree City, Georgia complained to the DOL after not receiving his last paycheck of $915. When the DOL contacted the repair shop, the shop’s owner Miles Walker, told the DOL investigator that he was not planning on giving his former employee a final paycheck. Failure to pay employees and former employees for all of the hours they were “suffered or permitted” to work is a clear violation of the FLSA.

However, the story doesn’t end there. According to the complaint, Walker decided to pay Flaten shortly after learning of the DOL’s involvement. However, instead of simply mailing Flaten’s paycheck or transferring the funds electronically, Walker opted to leave a pile of approximately 91,500 “oil-soaked” pennies in Flaten’s driveway. Walker also “left a copy of Mr. Flaten’s paycheck with an expletive written on the outside” on top of the pile.  Additionally, according to the DOL’s complaint, A OK Walker Autoworks website contained numerous derogatory comments regarding a “subpar ex-employee.”

Following an investigation, the DOL found several wage and hour violations related to Walker’s business and filed suit in federal court on December 30, 2021. The lawsuit alleges Walker failed to pay overtime to Flaten and eight other shop employees and failed to keep adequate records as required by the FLSA. In total, the DOL is seeking $36,971 in back wages and damages for the impacted employees.

Here is more on the story from CBS 46 Atlanta.

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