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Employer who paid former staff's final salary in oily pennies ordered to pay more than $39,000

Miles Walker and A OK Luxury Autoworks have been ordered in a consent judgment to pay Andreas Flaten and eight other employees an amount of more than $39,000.

Employer who paid former staff's final salary in oily pennies ordered to pay more than $39,000
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels/Photo by Pixabay

An auto shop owner got an unforgettable dose of karma and justice after he delivered a former employee's last paycheck in the form of oily pennies out of spite. The Northern District of Georgia Newnan Division ordered Miles Walker and A OK Luxury Autoworks to pay Andreas Flaten and eight other employees an amount of more than $39,000 in a consent judgment on June 13.

The judgment asks for payment of $19,967 in back wages and $19,697 in "liquidated damages." Walker and his company have also been asked to remove all pictures of Flaten from their website and social media. Moreover, they are required to ensure that the consent judgment is placed in "conspicuous places" in the repair shop, reports PEOPLE.

The company has also been asked to display a division fact sheet on the Fair Labor Standards Act's prohibition of retaliation in the auto shop. The Department of Labor was behind the complaint against Walker and his company as they found out that the company violated retaliation, overtime and recordkeeping parts of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

After Flaten raised an issue with Walker not paying his pending wage, the auto shop owner retaliated by sending 91,500 oil-covered pennies to the former employee's residence along with a pay stub. The pile was reportedly so huge that it filled and even blocked Flaten's driveway. Walker is also said to have made defamatory statements about Flaten on their company's website.

"After the first shovel full, all we could do was laugh because this poor miserable man took so much time to be vindictive and cruel," Flaten's girlfriend, Olivia Oxley, said. "We absolutely refused to let him ruin a single moment of ours."

"The court has sent a clear message to employers such as Miles Walker who subject employees to unfair wage practices and outright intimidation and retaliation," U.S. Department of Labor Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard, said in a statement. "By law, worker engagement with the U.S. Department of Labor is a protected activity. Workers should not fear harassment or intimidation in the workplace."



 

"Employers who mistakenly believe they can willfully violate labor laws at the expense of employees and competitors must understand that we will do everything within our rights to bring them to justice," she added.

Meanwhile, Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Juan Coria said: "Workers are entitled to obtain the wages they earned without fear of harassment or intimidation. The Wage and Hour Division will use all tools available to ensure workers' rights are protected and that employers do not retaliate against them when they assert those rights. This case should serve as notice to employers that retaliation will not be tolerated."



 

"Mr. Walker is like many other small business owners in America — he wakes up every day doing everything he can to put food on the table," Walker's attorney, Ryan Farmer, stated in an email to KXXV. "Unfortunately, emotionally charged decisions can come back and bite you in the rear end."

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