There are lots of reasons an employer might want to pay a worker or former employee in an unconventional way. It might be a marketing promotion, it might be an attempt to embrace cutting-edge currencies, or it might be a passive-aggressive expression of hostility. Whatever the reason, workers and employers alike should recognize that when work is compensated in anything other than cash, electronic payment (like a direct deposit,) or a negotiable instrument (like a check,) that compensation method has the potential to run afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act. A knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyer can help you, as a worker, determine if the compensation you received complies with the law or not.
Some months ago, this blog covered a disgruntled Georgia employer who caught the attention of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for the non-traditional way it paid a fired worker’s final wages. The $915 payment arrived in the worker’s driveway, in the form of a wheelbarrow full of 572 pounds of “oil-soaked” pennies. That, plus a final pay stub with an expletive written on it, amounted to illegal retaliation, according to the EEOC.
More recently, news outlets focused on an unusual work arrangement at a fast food establishment in North Carolina. A Chick Fil A restaurant there posted to its Facebook page that it sought “volunteers” to work at its new “Drive Thru Express.” The so-called volunteers would receive “5 free entrees” for each one-hour shift they worked.