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DOL Sues Retaliatory Employer For 90,000 Penny Dump

With two weeks' notice, Andreas Flaten quit his job at A OK Walker Autoworks in Peachtree City, Georgia. When owner Miles Walker did not give him his final paycheck, Flate reported Walker to the Wage and Hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Walker told the DOL he would pay Flaten for his final two weeks.

Approximately two hours after learning that Flaten complained to the agency, Walker had 500 pounds of “greasy” pennies dropped on the end of Flaten’s driveway along with a pay stub and an expletive covered envelope. Walker told the DOL, “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.” He also publicly shamed Flaten by implying that Flaten stole, killed a dog, or was lazy. Flaten told the Washington Post that he tried to clean the “oily” $915 worth of pennies on his driveway. Clearing the pennies from the driveway took Flaten and his girlfriend several hours. Walker denied putting oil on the pennies. The DOL stated in its federal complaint that Walker owned up to dumping the pennies on his company’s website.

Other employees told the press that Walker previously ripped up final paychecks in front of them. The DOL’s complaint alleges that Walker failed to pay his staff overtime as well as keep proper pay and work records. Asserting Walker’s dumping act reflected illegal retaliation, the government is seeking back wages for three years of failure to pay overtime to his employees and an equal additional amount in liquidated damages for his actions against Flaten.