U.S. Sues Shop Owner Who Dumped 91,500 Pennies on Ex-Worker’s Driveway

U.S. Sues Store Proprietor Who Dumped 91,500 Pennies on Ex-Employee’s Driveway

The proprietor of a Georgia auto-repair store who dumped 91,500 oil-covered pennies in a former worker’s driveway was not simply making a sticky mess that took practically seven hours to wash up, the U.S. Division of Labor stated.

He was additionally retaliating towards the previous worker for having complained to the division that he had not obtained his remaining paycheck, the company stated in a lawsuit that accuses the store proprietor of violating federal labor legislation.

The lawsuit represents the most recent flip in an employment dispute that gained nationwide consideration final 12 months after the previous worker’s girlfriend posted a video of the oily pennies on Instagram, attracting the sympathies of hundreds of people that stated they, too, had contended with tough bosses.

The lawsuit, filed on Dec. 30 in U.S. District Courtroom for the Northern District of Georgia, claims that the store proprietor, Miles Walker, and his store, A OK Walker Autoworks in Peachtree Metropolis, Ga., retaliated towards the previous worker after he referred to as the division on Jan. 26, 2021, to report that he had not obtained his remaining paycheck, for $915, after he resigned.

Mr. Walker initially claimed that his store had ready the paycheck however that “it by no means made it to the mail,” the lawsuit says.

When a Labor Division consultant referred to as Mr. Walker in regards to the paycheck on Jan. 27, Mr. Walker stated he wouldn’t pay it, in accordance with the lawsuit. However hours later, Mr. Walker determined to pay the previous worker, Andreas Flaten, in pennies.

“How will you make this man understand what a disgusting instance of a human being he’s,” Mr. Walker stated, in accordance with the lawsuit. “I’ve obtained loads of pennies; I’ll use them.”

On March 12, 2021, Mr. Walker left the mound of 91,500, oil-soaked pennies on Mr. Flaten’s driveway. On high of the pile, he left a replica of Mr. Flaten’s paycheck with an expletive written on it, the lawsuit stated.

The following day, Mr. Flaten’s girlfriend posted the video on Instagram. Because the penny pile drew widespread information protection, Mr. Walker posted a message on the store’s web site.

“What began out as a gotcha to a subpar ex-employee, positive obtained a number of press,” the message stated, in accordance with the lawsuit. “Allow us to simply say that possibly he stole? Perhaps he killed a canine? Perhaps he killed a cat? Perhaps he was lazy? Perhaps he was a butcher?”

In a press release, the Labor Division referred to as that message “defamatory” and stated that Mr. Walker had retaliated towards Mr. Flaten in violation of the Truthful Labor Requirements Act.

“By legislation, employee engagement with the U.S. Division of Labor is protected exercise,” Steven Salazar, district director of the division’s wage and hour division in Atlanta, stated in a press release. “Employees are entitled to obtain details about their rights within the office and procure the wages they earned with out worry of harassment or intimidation.”

The lawsuit, which additionally accuses Mr. Walker and his store of failing to pay legally required additional time charges and failing to maintain sufficient and correct information of staff’ pay charges and work hours, seeks $36,971 in again wages and damages for at the very least eight staff along with Mr. Flaten.

Mr. Walker didn’t instantly reply on Saturday to an e-mail and a cellphone message left on the store.

He instructed CBS46 in March that he couldn’t keep in mind if he had dropped the pennies on Mr. Flaten’s driveway. “It doesn’t matter — he obtained paid, that’s all that issues,” Mr. Walker stated.

Mr. Flaten and his girlfriend, Olivia Oxley, stated final 12 months that they’d spent hours hauling about 500 kilos of pennies in a wheelbarrow up the slope of his driveway into his storage, earlier than the burden of the cash triggered the wheelbarrow’s tires to break down.

On Saturday, Mr. Flaten stated Coinstar had ultimately collected the pennies, washed them and counted them and had given him paper forex in return that was near the $915 he was owed.

Mr. Flaten described the lawsuit as a “nice shock,” saying he had not been positive what to anticipate when he first referred to as the Division of Labor final 12 months to report that he had not obtained his remaining paycheck.

“I’m completely satisfied to see justice is being served,” he stated. “At first, I believed he just about obtained away with it.”

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