US Dept of Labor sues company that dumped 91,500 pennies onto ex-employee's driveway as final payment

Originally published at: US Dept of Labor sues company that dumped 91,500 pennies onto ex-employee's driveway as final payment | Boing Boing


"Let us just say that maybe he stole? Maybe he killed a dog? Maybe he killed a cat? Maybe he was lazy? Maybe he was a butcher?"

Maybe the company is owned by assholes, just maybe.


A certifiable, “Christ, what an asshole”


Why would a butcher be any less deserving of his final paycheck than any other employee? Are you going to stiff the baker and the candlestick maker next?


And if this had been a fed up customer doing the same to a business, it would get a laugh and people would go about their day.

The story doesn’t give me enough information to determine who’s the bigger asshole here.

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Ooh, ooh, I know the answer to this one. The bigger asshole is the employer who got pissed off because the employee went to the Department of Labor to find out his rights. Then the employer dumped his final paycheck on the driveway in pennies to make some kind of asshole-ish point.


Um, huh?


Sure was tuffy to decide’ but I’m go with the Employer was the f’ing asshole here. See evidence below…

Screen Shot 2022-01-10 at 8.49.46 AM


Further evidence, right from the BB post:

The lawsuit, which also accuses Mr. Walker and his shop of failing to pay legally required overtime rates and failing to keep adequate and accurate records of employees’ pay rates and work hours, seeks $36,971 in back wages and damages for at least eight employees in addition to Mr. Flaten.


I think I’m going to go with “the side that decided to make their act of asshollery as public as possible and also ran afoul of labor laws.” You have to do something to really stand out as a bad employer to attract the attention of the Department of Labor.

Even if we assume (with no supporting evidence) that the ex-employee deserved to be fired the employer would still be the bigger asshole in this situation just by way of the power imbalance.


GIF by Giphy QA


In the land of assholes, dickhead is king. My guess is they are both assholes, as all parties involved. I think the AITBA (am I the bigger asshole) question can wait until the ex-employee gets his legal due.

In the UK at least, and I suspect in most countries in Europe, there is a limit to the number of small denomination coins a creditor is obliged to accept in payment of a debt. If that law exists in the USA it must surely provide a precedent for a court case against the employer.
What coins you can pay with in the UK


Based on a very quick search, it sounds like we had a law like that in the states… until 1965, when we apparently removed the limit.

Up until the late 19th century, pennies and nickels weren’t legal tender at all. The Coinage Acts of 1873 and 1879 made them legal tender for debts up to 25 cents only, while the other fractional coins (dimes, quarters, and half dollars) were legal tender for amounts up to $10. This remained the law until the Coinage Act of 1965 specified that all U.S. coins are legal tender in any amount.

However, in most circumstances, payees are not required to accept payment in pennies.


Well, shit! :cry:
Still, it’s better to know than not to know. Thank you.


The other end of it is there is no rule requiring anyone accept any or all legal tender in payment.

This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

Meaning this guy has no obligation to accept that pile of pennies.

It looks like only Massachusetts and Philadelphia have laws requiring cash be accepted at all, but they don’t neccisarily specify that you have to take any cash.


Classic fuck around and find out.


I have a feeling that stunt is going to cost the company a pretty penny.


Sow the wind and ye shall reap the whirlwind.


Big shocker there. Reading the original story, it was obviously a dick move on the employer’s part (even absent any context) and my assumption was that any employer that angry about paying an employee what had been agreed upon is almost certainly screwing their employees - and probably routinely. Looks like that was the case here.

A reminder that wage theft makes up the bulk of all money stolen in the US - by far.

Yeah, I don’t think it could be any more clear the asshole is the employer who routinely engages in wage theft, and has a hissy fit when he’s caught and tries to make life as unpleasant as possible for the one who caught him.

Well, we have zero evidence the former employee is an asshole (or any of the other employees who are part of the lawsuit), but we have ample evidence his former boss is.

Would have been hilarious if the recipient turned the tables, refused the “payment” and the employer had been forced to then collect all the oily pennies and issue a proper paycheck. Instead of the employee having to spend a whole work day cleaning it all up in what amounted to more theft of labor.