U.S. Sues Shop Owner Who Dumped 91,500 Pennies on Ex-Worker’s Driveway

The owner of a Georgia auto-repair shop dumped 91,500 oil-covered pennies in a former employee's driveway and took nearly seven hours to clean up, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

The shop owner was accused of violating federal labor law by retaliating against the former employee who had complained that he had not received his final paycheck.

The employment dispute gained national attention last year after the former employee's girlfriend posted a video of the oily pennies on social media, attracting the sympathies of thousands of people who said they too had contended with difficult bosses.

The shop owner and his shop retaliated against the former employee after he called the department, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that Mr. Walker initially claimed that his shop had prepared the paycheck, but that it never made it to the mail.

Mr. Walker said he wouldn't pay the paycheck. Mr. Walker decided to pay the former employee in pennies.

Mr. Walker said that the guy was a disgusting example of a human being. I have a lot of pennies; I will use them.

Mr. Walker left a mound of pennies on Mr. Flaten's driveway. He left a copy of Mr. Flaten's paycheck on top of the pile.

Mr. Flaten's girlfriend posted the video on the photo sharing site. Mr. Walker posted a message on the shop's website as the penny pile drew widespread news coverage.

According to the lawsuit, the message said that what started out as a gotcha to a subpar ex-employee got a lot of press. Maybe he stole? Maybe he killed a dog? He might have killed a cat. Maybe he wasn't working hard. Maybe he was a butcher?

The Labor Department said that Mr. Walker had retaliated against Mr. Flaten.

The wage and hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor is protected by the law, according to the district director. Workers can get information about their rights in the workplace and get their wages without fear of harassment or intimidation.

The lawsuit accuses Mr. Walker and his shop of failing to pay overtime rates and failing to keep adequate and accurate records of employees' pay rates and work hours.

Mr. Walker didn't respond to the email and phone messages on Saturday.

He told CBS46 that he couldn't remember if he dropped the pennies on Mr. Flaten's driveway. Mr. Walker said that it doesn't matter, he got paid.

Mr. Flaten and his girlfriend, Oxley, said last year that they had spent hours hauling 500 pounds of pennies in a wheelbarrow up the slope of his driveway into his garage, before the weight of the coins caused the wheelbarrow's tires to collapse.

Mr. Flaten said on Saturday that he had been given paper currency in return for collecting the pennies and washing them, and that he was close to $915 he was owed.

Mr. Flaten said he was surprised by the lawsuit, but he had not been sure what to expect when he called the Department of Labor.

He said he was happy to see justice being served. I thought he got away with it.