Court orders Georgia auto shop operator to pay over $39K in back wages, damages, forbids owner from discriminating, retaliating against employees
Date of action: June 13, 2023
Type of action: Fair Labor Standards Act consent order and permanent injunction
Names of defendants: 811 Autoworks LLC, operating as AOK Walker Luxury Autoworks
Resolution: On June 13, 2023, Judge Timothy C. Batten of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Newnan Division, issued a consent judgment and permanent injunction in response to a suit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging retaliation against a former employee by 811 Autoworks LLC – a Peachtree City auto repair shop operating as AOK Walker Luxury Autoworks – and its owner Miles Walker.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found the employer retaliated against a former employee who contacted the division after the employer failed to pay his final wages. Investigators learned that Walker later paid the former employee’s final wages of $915 by delivering about 91,500 oil-covered pennies and a pay stub marked with an expletive to the worker’s home. The employer also published defamatory statements about the former employee on the company’s website.
The division also determined Walker violated the FLSA’s overtime provisions by paying the complainant and other employees straight-time rates for all hours worked, including for hours over 40 in a workweek when an overtime rate-of-pay was legally required.
The court ordered the auto shop operator to pay $39,934, representing back wages owed and an equal amount in liquidated damages, to nine workers. In addition, the judge’s order permanently forbids the employer from violating federal minimum wage and overtime provisions and specifically requires them to do the following:
- Remove all photographs of, and references to the former employee who was retaliated against from the company website, and never post photos or references about the employee again.
- Post the consent judgment immediately in all conspicuous places in its facility where employee notices are usually posted.
- Conspicuously display a division fact sheet on prohibiting retaliation under the FLSA in its facility.
Quote: “The court has sent a clear message to employers such as Miles Walker who subject employees to unfair wage practices and outright intimidation and retaliation. By law, worker engagement with the U.S. Department of Labor is a protected activity. Workers should not fear harassment or intimidation in the workplace,” said U.S. Department of Labor Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard in Atlanta. “Employers who mistakenly believe they can willfully violate labor laws at the expense of employees and competitors must understand that we will do everything within our rights to bring them to justice.”
“Workers are entitled to obtain the wages they earned without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Juan Coria in Atlanta. “The Wage and Hour Division will use all tools available to ensure workers’ rights are protected and that employers do not retaliate against them when they assert those rights. This case should serve as notice to employers that retaliation will not be tolerated.”
Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia at Newnan
Docket Number: 3:21-cv-00220-TCB