Georgia Man Who Paid Former Employee In Oily Pennies Ordered To Pay $39K
Miles Walker, the owner of A OK Luxury Autoworks in Georgia, learned the costly lesson that revenge isn't always sweet.
The Penny Revenge
His decision to settle the final paycheck of his former employee, Andreas Flaten, with 91,500 pennies covered in oil resulted in a legal backlash.
A court mandated Miles Walker to pay more than $39,000 to Andreas Flaten and eight other employees, not just for the bizarre penny payment but also for unpaid wages and penalties.
A Big Mess To Clean
The pile of pennies was so large it blocked and stained Flatens' driveway and took almost seven hours for Flaten to remove.
In April 2021 Flaten's girlfriend, Olivia Oxley, told PEOPLE they were initially "super ticked" about the pile of pennies left on their drive, but that this changed when it came to cleaning them up.
"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," Oxley said. "We absolutely refused to let him ruin a single moment of ours."
The Revenge Backfired
Walker's prank backfired as the stunt resulted in a hefty $39,000 fine for Walker's business.
In addition to this, the Fair Labor Standards Act uncovered several violations, including retaliation, unpaid overtime, and recordkeeping discrepancies.
Walker was reprimanded for his failure to pay Flaten's final wages and for making defamatory comments about him on the company's website. Walker was ordered to remove all photos and references to Flaten from the company's online platforms and post the court's verdict in his shop.
The Department of Labor also issued a statement, emphasizing that workers are legally protected when interacting with their organization and cautioning employers against flouting labor laws or mistreating their staff.
Juan Coria, a Wage and Hour administrator, echoed these sentiments, stressing the importance of allowing employees to collect their earnings without fear of retribution.