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

Apparently Coinstar caught wind of it, and handled all that free of charge. Otherwise I imagine he might of done just that.

It might be a bit unfortunate that that aspect was handled quickly. Since the oil probably breaks laws around waste disposal and illegal dumping. But since no one would (or can) process that change till it’s clean. That’s a pretty clear attempt to prevent the guy from getting the money.

It just reeks of trying to prevent the employee from getting the pay, while checking the “I technically paid him” box.

At a minimum there’s probably pretty good grounds for a hostile work environment suit here.

ETA: I’m also curious how the boss lined up that much change in the midst of a coinage shortage.

I’m guessing he’s a coin hoarder since he just casually mentioned “I have plenty of pennies”. It’s probably the non-copper stuff he filtered out.

Currency hoarding isn’t illegal. But selling currency for scrap is. How much do you want to bet a mechanic has the equipment or connections to melt down or sell copper pennies on the down low?


Unfortunately, those laws all seem to be based on retail transactions rather than payroll.

1 Like

I’m not sure what would be unfortunate there. Those particular laws are there to make sure folk without bank accounts have access to retail businesses.

And as goes this. There’s no law or rule requiring anyone accept a sack of pennies as payment for anything.

Hell even the bank can tell you no if you bring in too much change to convert to bills.


I read through your post too quickly and was thinking the opposite of what you said, thinking you were referring to laws where you didn’t have to accept coins. I should have read more slowly.

ETA: Or maybe I replied saying I read the first post too quickly too quickly.

Dunno, I’m reading my own replies too quickly at the moment. So I’m gonna call anything I’ve written this morning suspect… :-/

1 Like

I was wondering about that, as they said he got “most” of the $915 owed.

Yeah, that struck me, too. So many crimes…


There’s a lot of reporting on it running around. I forget where I saw the Coinstar bit. But the owner claims that he added an extra 10% to cover Coinstar fees. I’m gonna go ahead and doubt that he actually counted anything, or made sure there weren’t a shit ton of Canadian pennies in there or anything.


I hope the employee captured the website posting. That sounds like a nice juicy libel suit!


AFAIU the business owner had a debt to the former worker so I believe although I am not sure the legal tender law applies and a worker would have to accept any legal tender. That would include a bag of coins. But dumping oil covered pennies on someone’s driveway is vandalism in any case, and retaliating, harassing, and threatening someone for contacting the DoL about a labor dispute is illegal even if the pennies are legal tender.


Guy should be charged for using Fed government property to commit a crime.


Well from my understanding there is no “legal tender rule”.

Aside from that US currency is legal tender. There doesn’t seem to be a requirement to accept a particular form of payment just because it is legal tender under any circumstances. There just isn’t law on that.

There doesn’t seem to be anything about a debt that would change that, and in the coverage of this I’ve seen multiple statements that a creditor specifically has no obligation to accept something just because it’s legal tender.

The whole “it’s legal tender you have to accept it” thing, seems to be a myth. Based on the wording of the law in question:

United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts.

And the stipulation that Legal Tender is a valid offer or payment of debt. So you couldn’t say demand repayment in land, if some one was offering cash. But that doesn’t mean you need to accept pennies over 100 bills, or cash over a bank transfer.

And while it seems to be just a common assumption. There seems to be kinda a runner about some Legal Tender requirements or common law power behind it that are REAL big in like Gold Bug and Sovereign Citizen circles.


Ah. Libel.
Not happy with blatant jackassery, he had to dig that hole deeper.

Maybe you are an idiot?

It wasn’t, so that line of speculation is irrelevant.

More likely, the business would refuse that type of payment & sue for non-payment.
Lots of businesses don’t accept cash.

Both Sides, eh?


I recall reading last year about this ‘businessman’ and his relationship with his employees and with his customers. As I recall, one person that said they had work done by this dude’s garage and it was incomplete and shoddy. When this customer complained the response was to take his business elsewhere if he didn’t like it.


Yup – Came to point out the same.
Assholes come and go, but spectacular assholes tend to out themselves in ways they don’t intend. They can’t overcome their biggest obstacle: their own astronomical asshole-ishness.


Anyone puzzling over the definitions of legal tender might also like to consider the term “common currency”. For instance, in England, Scottish banknotes (issued by the English Mint!) are NOT “Legal Tender” but they ARE “common currency”. The first makes shopkeepers in England refuse to accept them - the second ensures that English banks do accept them (and explains that the shopkeepers have no real legal reason to refuse them). In fact cheques (US “checks”) are not legal tender either. But few people pay by cheque these days.

It’s great to see an asshole face consequences.
For part 2, I hope the EPA investigates all his properties. If he’s willing to dump a pile of oil-soaked pennies on someone else’s property, who knows how he’s handling proper disposal protocols at his garage.


I remember Canadian pennies.


Scottish banknotes are issued by Scottish banks, and they are not legal tender anywhere. The “English Mint” is the Royal Mint, and mints coins but does not issue banknotes. Bank of England banknotes are issued by the Bank of England, oddly enough.

Oh, I totally relate to your dilemma. On the one hand, we have an employee who went through proper legal means when they were refused their final paycheck.
But on the other hand, you have an employer who attempted wage theft and then dumped pollutant-soaked pennies in someone’s driveway in retaliation.

This Is Hard Keanu Reeves GIF by HBO Max


Highly disagree. There’s not even a comparison that makes sense, given the context.


You have no data that the employee ever did anything wrong.

You have ample data that the employer is a crackpot/asshole.

It’s not even close.

Just the fact that the employer thinks he can minimize his dumping of 91,000 chemically-polluted pennies off as a “gotcha” shows the guy is borderline adult.

1 Like

Pennies these days are 2.5% copper plating over 97.5% zinc planchet.