Pennies Dumped in the Driveway is Retaliation

 In Employment Law, Overtime Law, Wage Law

Unlawful Retaliation

Workers have the right to be paid a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work and they also have the right to complain about not being paid. When workers do complain, employers may not retaliate against those workers who attempt to vindicate their rights. And workers can hire experienced employee rights attorneys, like the ones at Herrmann Law, to have employers punished for violations.

Retaliatory Conduct

As a case in point, as reported by CBSnews, a worker in Georgia was not given his final paycheck when he quit his job at A-OK Walker Autoworks in Peachtree, Georgia. The employee — Andreas Flaten — filed a complaint with the Georgia Department of Labor to get his final paycheck. He was owed $915. In response, his former employer delivered a pile of coins to Flaten’s driveway and dumped them there along with a copy of his last paycheck. According to the report, the coins were dirty and covered in oil.

On a social media post, the employer denied that the coins were covered in oil or dirty. The employer also claimed that it overpaid Flaten by leaving exactly 100,003 pennies, 750 dimes, 2 quarters and a nickel on Flaten’s driveway. The employer defended the action by stating that it had contacted the Georgia Department of Labor and asked if it was allowed to pay Flaten “in cash of any denomination.” According to the employer, the Department of Labor did not offer specific guidance.

Since then, the federal Department of Labor (“USDOL”) has gotten involved and has filed a lawsuit against A-OK Walker Autoworks, and its owner, for retaliation against Flaten. In general terms, retaliation occurs when

  • An employee like Flaten engages in some “protected activity” — like filing a claim to get his final paycheck
  • An employer takes some “adverse employment action” against the employee
  • Because the employee engaged in a “protected activity”

An “adverse employment action” can occur after a worker has separated from employment. An “adverse employment action” can include any action that makes it more difficult for a worker to obtain and use his pay. Obviously, collecting up nearly 101,000 coins off of one’s driveway makes it more difficult for an employee to obtain the wages that are rightfully due. According to the USDOL’s announcement, it took Flaten nearly seven hours to remove the coins from his driveway. The DOL complaint also alleges other acts of retaliation including writing an expletive on Flaten’s final pay stub and publishing defamatory statements about Flaten on the company’s website. Very likely, based on these reports, the employer is going to be punished for this behavior.

Retaliation against workers is neither lawful nor acceptable.

Call the Employee Rights Attorneys at Herrmann Law Today

For more information, call the Employee Rights attorneys at Herrmann Law. If you think that your employer has retaliated against you or has otherwise violated your rights as an employee, call us. We are proven, experienced, employee-focused attorneys representing workers across the United States in all types of workplace disputes. Use our Online Contact page or call us at (817) 479-9229. We are more than just a law firm for employees – we are an employee’s fiercest advocate, equipping employees with the legal representation needed to achieve the best result possible.

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