PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Andreas Flaten isn’t sure if he got every last cent his former employer owed him. He hasn’t had time to count them.
Flaten, a former manager at A OK Walker Luxury Autoworks in Peachtree City, Georgia, told The New York Times that he finally received the final paycheck he had been asking for since quitting his job in November, in the form of oily substance-drenched pennies dumped at the end of his driveway March 12.
According to The Associated Press, an envelope lay atop the penny pile, in theory totaling $915, that included Flaten’s final paystub and a vulgar parting message.
“It would be one thing if it was just pennies. I wish it was just pennies,” Flaten told the Times, noting the coins are covered in a sticky substance that he suspects could be power-steering fluid.
In turn, he now spends a portion of his nightly routine cleaning the pennies, so he can eventually cash them. Several hundred, he said, took about an hour-and-a-half to clean, the AP reported.
“I think that’s going to be a lot of work for money I’ve already worked for,” Flaten told the outlet, calling the task “definitely not fair at all.”
Meanwhile, Flaten’s girlfriend, Olivia Oxley, posted a video of the pennies on Instagram on March 13 and said she hopes his story illuminates how some people “are treated so poorly by their employers.”
Both the Times and AP cited local media reports in which Miles Walker, the owner of the high-end automotive repair shop, did not recall if he had deposited Flaten’s final paycheck in the described manner.
“It doesn’t matter — he got paid, that’s all that matters,” Walker reportedly said, according to both outlets.
According to the Times, Flaten said multiple issues contributed to him giving notice of his intent to leave the company and to ultimately walk out prior to that specified date, but the primary factor was his inability to reliably pick up a child from day care.
Doorbell camera footage confirms that on March 12 at about 7 p.m. a young man with long hair is visible on the porch and can be heard saying, “Hey, your money is at the end of the driveway, bud.”
Flaten told the Times that he believed the man is a current employee of the shop.
Asked by the Times in an email message if it is legal to pay an employee in dirty, grease-covered pennies, Eric R. Lucero, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, wrote, “There is nothing in the regulations that dictates in what currency the employee must be paid.”
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