Court orders Georgia auto repair shop operator to pay more than $39,000 in arrears of wages and damages, and prohibits owner from discriminating against and retaliating against employees

Promotion date: June 13, 2023

Type of action: Consent Order and Injunction of the Fair Labor Standards Act

Names of the accused: 811 Autoworks LLC, trading as AOK Walker Luxury Autoworks

Miles Walker

Resolution: On June 13, 2023, Judge Timothy C. Batten of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Newnan Division, entered a consent judgment and an injunction in response to a complaint brought by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging retaliation against a former 811 Autoworks employee LLC – a Peachtree City auto repair shop trading as AOK Walker Luxury Autoworks – and its owner Miles Walker.

An investigation by the Department’s Pay and Hours Department found that the employer had retaliated against a former worker who contacted the department after the employer failed to pay his final wages. Investigators learned that Walker later paid the former employee’s $915 final wages by delivering about 91,500 oil-covered pennies and a swearword-tagged pay slip to the worker’s home. The employer also published defamatory statements about the former employee on the company’s website.

The division too concluded that Walker violated the FLSA overtime regulations by paying the complainant and other employees direct rates for all hours worked, including hours in excess of 40 hours in a workweek for which overtime pay was required by law.

The court ordered the auto repair shop operator to pay nine workers $39,934, representing outstanding wage arrears and an equal amount in liquidated damages. In addition, the judgeThe order permanently prohibits the employer from violating state minimum wage and overtime regulations, and specifically requires the employer to do the following:

  • Remove from the company website all photos and references to the former employee who was retaliated against, and never again post photos or references to the employee.
  • Post the Opinion Notice immediately in all conspicuous places in the facility where notices to employees are normally posted.
  • Post a FLSA non-retaliation department notice in a prominent place in your facility.

Quote: “The court sent a clear message to employers like Miles Walker who subject their workers to unfair wage practices and outright intimidation and retaliation. By law, employee collaboration with the US Department of Labor is a protected activity. Workers should not fear harassment or intimidation in the workplace,” said Tremelle Howard, regional attorney for the US Department of Labor in Atlanta. “Employers who mistakenly believe they can willfully violate labor laws at the expense of workers and competitors must understand that we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.”

“Workers have the right to receive the wages they deserve without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said Juan Coria, regional administrator for wages and hourly wages in Atlanta. “The Payroll Department will use all available tools to ensure that workers’ rights are protected and that employers do not retaliate against them for asserting these rights. This case should serve as a reminder to employers that retaliation will not be tolerated.”

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Newnan

File number: 3:21-cv-00220-TCB