The DOL got involved when an employer not only failed to pay wages owed to an ex-employee, but did so in a very strange, vindictive way.
The company also happened to make several other FLSA violations. Here’s what happened.
Atlanta-based auto repair shop 811 Autoworks LLC — doing business as A OK Walker Autoworks — was sued by the DOL after it pushed back against an employee requesting their final paycheck. The employee resigned from the auto shop and was owed $915. However, the company never sent the owed wages.
The ex-employee contacted the DOL, claiming 811 Autoworks was retaliating against him for quitting by withholding his final paycheck.
Once the DOL was involved, the employer relented and sent the ex-employee his owed $915 … in pennies.
The 91,500 pennies, which were inexplicably covered in oil, were delivered to the ex-employee’s driveway. The coins blocked and stained the driveway, and it took almost seven hours for the ex-employee to clean up the mess.
Along with the pennies came a paystub with expletives on it. To make matters worse, the employer posted defamatory statements about the ex-employee on the company website.
The pennies and defamation weren’t the company’s only violation, either. This incident brought to light the employer’s illegal pay practices, the DOL discovering 811 Autoworks violated the FLSA’s overtime provisions by paying other employees straight-time rates when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of employees’ hours worked.
In total, the DOL sued the company for FLSA retaliation, as well as overtime and recordkeeping violations.
811 Autoworks will pay $36,971 in back wages and liquidated damages to settle the DOL’s lawsuit.
Good news for the ex-employee, too. After spending weeks scrubbing his pennies clean and taking them to the bank in five-dollar increments, Coinstar stepped in to help. The coin-cashing company sent someone to pick up all the pennies and turned it into cash.
Even better, Coinstar rounded it up to an even $1,000. It noted the pennies would be cleaned very thoroughly before going back into circulation.