Feds sue local auto repair shop owner who paid former worker final wages in oily pennies

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— A OK Walker Autoworks  in Peachtree City violated retaliation prohibition, overtime laws, Labor Department says

ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against a Peachtree City auto repair shop and its owner seeking $36,971 in back wages and liquidated damages after investigators found they violated the retaliation, overtime and recordkeeping prohibitions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined that Miles Walker, the owner of 811 Autoworks LLC – operating as A OK Walker Autoworks – retaliated against one employee who contacted the agency after he resigned and the employer failed to pay his final wages.

The department’s complaint alleges that Walker paid the former employee’s final wages of $915 by delivering about 91,500 oil-covered pennies and a pay stub marked with an expletive to the worker’s home – blocking and staining his driveway and requiring nearly seven hours for him to remove – as well as publishing defamatory statements about the former employee on the company’s website.

The division also determined that Walker violated the FLSA’s overtime provisions by paying other employees straight time for all hours worked, failing to pay legally required overtime rate when they worked over 40 hours in a workweek.

In addition, the defendant also failed to keep adequate and accurate records of employees’ pay rates and work hours. The department seeks to enjoin the defendant permanently from future FLSA retaliation, overtime and recordkeeping violations.

“By law, worker engagement with the U.S. Department of Labor is protected activity. Workers are entitled to receive information about their rights in the workplace and obtain the wages they earned without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Steven Salazar in Atlanta.

“Workers and employers should feel free to contact the Wage and Hour Division. In fact, all employers should review their employment practices and contact the division to discuss questions they have regarding their responsibilities under the law,” Salazar said.

The division offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as toolkits and online videos. Learn more about the FLSA and independent contractors on the agency website or contact the Wage and Hour Division toll-free at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) for more information. Employers and employees can call their local WHD office and speak to someone confidentially in over 200 languages.

The case is Walsh v. 811 Autoworks LLC d/b/a OK Walker Autoworks and Miles Walker.

7 COMMENTS

  1. This is all pretty tame in comparison to the laundry list of other local crimes this guys been charged with, and he’ll be lucky if he can avoid prison time. I wouldn’t have written this, then I read the crazy post he has about Pennies.

  2. The article pretty clearly indicates the charges are for FLSA violations. His own records provided the proof.

    And although he didn’t break any law regarding the pennies, it is a crime to deface or destroy US money. But again, that’s not what’s in question.

    • Paying in pennies isn’t a crime, although it’s childish and petty. He made his own bed, so to speak. Delaying the final payment of money owed to the employee triggered a call to the Department of Labor. They in turn forced him to make restitution. The DOL then scrutinized the company’s processes and uncovered that overtime wages were being improperly addressed. As well, the owner is alleged to have a history of intimidation and harassment towards employees, which is also against the law.

      I viewed the company’s web page the other day and the owner addresses the penny incident. I think it’s safe to say that he’s an arrogant fellow.