The former employee believes that the owner of the repair shop went to such petty lengths to punish him for quitting and persistently demanding his final paycheck.
While an employee quitting their job can sometimes result in some bad blood between those involved, A OK Walker Luxury Autoworks in Peachtree City, Georgia, has taken things to new heights. A former employee of the high-end car repair shop is now accusing the establishment of delivering his last paycheck a few months later and in the form of oil-covered pennies. Andreas Flaten — who was a manager at A OK Walker until last November — reportedly found a pile of 91,500 greasy pennies, adding up to $915 in wages owed, at the end of his driveway earlier this month.
Speaking to The New York Times, Flaten claimed that Miles Walker — the owner of the repair shop — went to such petty lengths to punish him for quitting and persistently demanding his final paycheck. "It would be one thing if it was just pennies," he said. "I wish it was just pennies." The pennies are said to be covered in a pungent, sticky substance which Flaten suspects might be power-steering fluid. He revealed that things got sour between him and Walker in the workplace over the latter's lack of sensitivity to his need to pick up his child from daycare at a certain time.
Make sure you leave A OK Walker Luxury Autoworks in Georgia a nice 1 star review on Google. What kind of asshole pays an employee in grease/oil covered pennies?! https://t.co/szBoR74IbY— Lucas (@Ya_Boy_Luke) March 24, 2021
Flaten said that when Walker recruited him, he accepted the job because they had an agreement that he could leave at 5 pm to pick up his daughter from daycare. This agreement proved to be even more important with the dawn of the pandemic as the child-care facility began closing early. However, Walker allegedly refused to hold up his end of the bargain and this coupled with some other unpleasant exchanges, led Flaten to give notice late last year that he was planning to quit and then to walk off the job even earlier than planned.
A Man Demanded His Final Paycheck.— Ontou djtrump 😷🌊🌊🌊 (@Ontoudjtrump) March 25, 2021
The auto shop, A OK Walker Luxury Autoworks in Peachtree City, Ga, delivered 91,500 greasy pennies.
It’s not technically illegal to do so, according to the Department of Labor, but that doesn’t make it OK.
So this is life in Georgia?
"First things first, when [Flaten] quit he gave a written resignation letter complete with a two weeks notice. After Miles Walker of AOK Walker auto works continued to be the a**hole he is and make a normal workday hell, making unnecessary comments about my boyfriend's daughter and just be an all-around d**k, that 2 weeks turned into 5 days. My boyfriend respectfully delivered his uniforms washed and in a box complete with another letter as to why he was leaving early. Fast forward 3 months and he was refusing to send out the last paycheck claiming damages to the shop. Once the word "lawyer" was introduced, this is what he did," Flaten's girlfriend, Olivia Oxley, wrote in a now-viral Instagram video of the pennies.
When his final week's wages failed to arrive even months after he quit the job, Flaten filed a claim with the US Department of Labor. Then, a visitor dropped by Flaten's house. A video recorded by his doorbell camera shows a young man with long wavy hair on his front porch at around 7 pm on March 12. "Hey, your money is at the end of the driveway, bud," the man, who is believed to be a current employee of the repair shop, told Flaten. When Flaten tried to drive to the store about an hour later, he found his way blocked by a mountain of foul-smelling pennies and an envelope etched with the words "f**k you" which contained his pay stub.
He demanded his last paycheck, so his ex-boss dumped 91,515 oily pennies on his driveway https://t.co/Neyb9JDPFo— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 25, 2021
Flaten and Oxley spent the next few hours transporting around 500 pounds of pennies up the slope of his steep driveway into his garage by wheelbarrow, which eventually got damaged due to the weight of the pennies. The incident has attracted the sympathies of thousands of people also navigating strained relations with their employers amid the pandemic, some of whom pointed out that if the pennies were covered in used motor oil, then the former employer had effectively dumped hazardous waste onto the property and urged Flaten to contact an environmental agency.
The greasy coating on the pennies has also made it impossible for Flaten to determine whether Walker has paid him everything he's owed. He revealed that he had spent two hours one night to try and clean the pennies by sloshing them around in a giant vat of Dawn dish soap, white vinegar, and water. However, that failed and he has since found that wiping each penny individually might be the only way to get the greasy solution off. It took him around two hours to get $5 worth of pennies cleaned.
More employees from A OK Walker Luxury Auto shop have come forward to talk about the toxic work environment. So I went to ask the owner about what started the whole conversation, paying employees in thousands of pennies. #peachtreecity @cbs46 pic.twitter.com/rTZtCC7Lv9— Jamie S Kennedy (@Jamie_S_Kennedy) March 17, 2021
Although OK Walker Autoworks has not commented publicly on the incident yet, the repair shop's website now says: "And yes we accept pennies as payment! They are cash you nitwits!" Meanwhile, speaking to CBS46 about the incident, Walker claimed that he couldn’t remember whether he dropped the pennies on his former employee's driveway. "It doesn't matter — he got paid, that's all that matters," he said. Flaten revealed that while he has thought about filing a lawsuit, he knows that what happened may not be technically illegal. Eric R. Lucero, a spokesman for the US Department of Labor, more or less confirmed the same by revealing that "there is nothing in the regulations that dictates in what currency the employee must be paid."