(NEXSTAR) — A Georgia auto repair shop owner is accused of retaliating against a former employee by paying the worker’s final wages, $915, in the form of 91,500 oil-soaked pennies. The ex-employee of A-OK Walker Autoworks, Andreas Flaten, may have the richest revenge in the end, however.
The federal government has sided with Flaten, who had filed a complaint with state labor regulators in January 2021 after he said he resigned from the Peachtree auto shop and his boss, Miles Walker, refused to give him his last check.
Shortly after getting a call from labor officials, Walker stated, “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,” according to the legal complaint against him.
Walker then allegedly dumped roughly 91,500 pennies and a pay stub “marked with an expletive” in front of Flaten’s home, leaving his driveway so severely stained with oil it took him seven hours to clean.
A statement posted on the repair shop’s website, according to the complaint, read:
What started out as a gotcha to a subpar ex-employee, sure got a lot of press … Let us just say that maybe he stole? Maybe he killed a dog? Maybe he killed a cat? Maybe he was lazy? Maybe he was a butcher? … know that no one would go to the trouble we did to make a point with out [sic] being motivated.”
However, as of Friday, the statement appeared to have been removed.
“By law, worker engagement with the U.S. Department of Labor is protected activity,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta. “Workers are entitled to receive information about their rights in the workplace and obtain the wages they earned without fear of harassment or intimidation.”
Further investigation found that Walker never paid his employees at the legally-mandated overtime rate, even if they exceeded 40 hours of work per week, the Department of Labor stated.
The federal government is now suing Walker for $36,971 for unpaid wages, damages and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Walker did not immediately respond to Nexstar’s request for comment, and the publicly listed phone number of the Peachtree City auto repair shop was disconnected.