A Man Got His Final Pay In 90,000 Oil-Covered Pennies & Now The Feds Are Suing His Ex-Boss
He originally quit the auto shop because of a "toxic" work environment.
A petty penny stunt from 2021 just became a court case for 2022.
The U.S. Department of Labor is suing a Georgia auto shop for allegedly dumping more than 90,000 oily pennies in an ex-employee's driveway in a move that made headlines last March.
Miles Walker, owner of A OK Walker Autoworks, is accused of violating the rules around overtime, record-keeping and retaliation, the DOL said in a news release.
Walker is accused of retaliating against a former employee by dumping the greasy pennies in his driveway, "blocking and staining his driveway and requiring nearly seven hours for him to remove." He's also accused of publishing "defamatory statements" about the employee on his company website.
The whole thing goes back to November 2020, when Andreas Flaten says he left A OK Walker because of a "toxic" work environment. He says he spent months trying to get his final paycheque of $915 from Walker and was repeatedly turned away.
Fast-forward to March 2021, when Flaten and his girlfriend reportedly found a pile of oily pennies in their driveway along with a pay stub and a note reading: "F-- you!"
His girlfriend, Olivia Oxley, shared a video of the pennies on Instagram at the time, and they later said the coins totalled about 91,500, or $915.
But it didn't end there.
The auto shop bragged about the stunt in a dedicated page on its website, although that page has since been removed.
"Ahh, the pennies," the post read, according to an archived version of the page. "What started as a gotcha to a subpar ex-employee, sure got a lot of press."
The post goes on to say that "pennies are cash!" and that no one employed by the shop put the grease on the coins. The post says the shop cannot disclose the employee's "short comings," but says "whatever you want to think is your prerogative."
The website also claimed that the Labor Department had signed off on paying Flaten "in cash of any denomination."
The legal complaint also goes beyond Walker's dispute with Flaten and says that he failed to keep track of employees, their wages and their hours going back to 2019.
Flaten told Business Insider that employees shouldn't have to worry about an old boss seeking revenge, and that they should speak up if it happens.
"Don't be quiet about it," he said. "Because if you're quiet about it, it's just going to continue to happen to you and everybody else."