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A former McDonald's worker in Pennsylvania is suing a franchiser owner saying she was required to receive her wages through a debit card that charged fees, resulting in some hourly employees receiving less than minimum wage.

Natalie Gunshannon, a single mother, 27, said she and other workers were paid through a JPMorgan Chase Payroll Card, which has a $1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals, a $10 inactivity fee after 90 days, and a 75 cent online payment fee per transaction and other fees.

Gunshannon, who filed a lawsuit in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, is hoping to have her case certified as a class action on behalf of the other employees who were paid with the Payroll card.

"It's a violation of the law," said Gunshannon's attorney, Michael Cefalo. "They're entitled to a choice to be paid in cash or check. Fees connected to this debit card which employees have to pay to get their wages which is unfair."

Gunshannon said she asked her employer if she could receive her wages through direct deposit at her credit union, which she said did not accept payments through the payroll card. She is suing under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act for unjust enrichment.

Franchisees Albert and Carol Mueller provided a statement to ABC News, which read: "We value our employees and everything they do for our organization. We are committed to providing them the best possible work environment so they can deliver the fast, reliable service that our customers expect. We are aware of this matter. But at this time, we have not seen a copy of the complaint. For this reason, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."

Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney with Consumers Union, said some employers are motivated to pay wages with these payroll cards to cut the cost of distributing paper checks.

"Employers are always looking for ways to cut costs," she said. "There is incentive for employers to offer these cards but in some cases, they don't negotiate with the payroll card provider over fees."

Gunshannon, who studied massage therapy, began working as an hourly employee at a McDonald's in Shavertown, Pa., on April 24 after she was unable to find jobs in her preferred field.

"There are no jobs in Luzerne County," she said.

She was paid about $7.44 an hour and worked 30 to 37 hours as a part-time worker.

Pennsylvania's basic minimum rate is $7.25 an hour.

 After she was issued a JP Morgan Chase Payroll card, she requested a paper check from her employer.

A manager allegedly told her, "If you don't activate the card, there is no way for us to pay you," according to the court complaint.

McDonald's managers and assistant managers "have the option to receive wage compensation by way of direct deposit, thus avoiding fees," the complaint states.

"McDonald's does not provide a choice for hourly employees to receive their justly earned wages through a bank check, cash or direct deposit," the lawsuit said.

 Gunshannon said the people with whom she worked were "nice" but she quit after three weeks for not receiving her wages as requested. Gunshannon said she is looking for jobs at other restaurants or home health work.

"This isn't something personal. I would just like to be paid for my work," she said.

However, some people say payroll debit cards can be beneficial to the unbanked or underbanked.

"Payroll debit cards offer real benefits for workers who are accustomed to cashing paychecks at check cashers, including meaningful cost savings, greater security and the convenience of an electronic payment option," said Timothy Flacke, executive director of the nonprofit Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund, which makes financial products for low- and moderate-income consumers. "Of course, many people do not like to have a product chosen for them, especially when there are fees involved."

A growing number of employers use payroll cards to pay some of their employers, but it violates both state and federal law to pay by payroll card alone, according to Lauren Saunders, managing attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

"Employees should always have the choice of direct deposit to their own bank account and also the choice of a check or cash," she said. "Depending on the particular card, for unbanked employees, a payroll card can be a safer, faster, more convenient and cheaper way of receiving wages than paying to cash a paper check. But payroll cards vary widely and some charge too many fees. Some payroll cards even have expensive overdraft fees, which are completely inappropriate on payroll cards or any other form of prepaid card."

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Those are not mandated by any employer I've known in PA or CT, they are an option for those that either don't have checking accounts or those that refuse to have one for whatever paranoid reasons, she could have simply opened a checking account and had her pay DDd into her checking account

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I'd choose the direct deposit too.

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the JPM fee is absurd.

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I'm sorry, but can you read z0phi3l, or did you just glance at it and fail to understand the words on the screen?  Right in the article is says:

 

Gunshannon said she asked her employer if she could receive her wages through direct deposit at her credit union, which she said did not accept payments through the payroll card. She is suing under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act for unjust enrichment.

 

So, this is a failure of the business owners, and not of their workers.

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Sounds like she owes them since it would save her check cashing costs.... to me anyways.

 

quote: "There are no jobs in Luzerne County," she said.

 

A lawsuit is NOT the way to keep your job.

 

quote: $1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals,a 75 cent online payment fee per transaction

 

Heck, the manager could have gave a the few bucks it costs out of his own wallet for her not to go all crazy. I know I would have.


I'm sorry, but can you read z0phi3l, or did you just glance at it and fail to understand the words on the screen?  Right in the article is says:

 

Gunshannon said she asked her employer if she could receive her wages through direct deposit at her credit union, which she said did not accept payments through the payroll card. She is suing under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act for unjust enrichment.

 

So, this is a failure of the business owners, and not of their workers (even more likely just ignored what options she was told she had)

 

 

Quote: A manager allegedly told her, "If you don't activate the card, there is no way for us to pay you," according to the court complaint.

 

I would wager a bet that she just didn't understand what she was being told.

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Sounds like she owes them since it would save her check cashing costs.... to me anyways.

 

quote: "There are no jobs in Luzerne County," she said.

 

A lawsuit is NOT the way to keep your job.

 

quote: $1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals,a 75 cent online payment fee per transaction

 

Heck, the manager could have gave a the few bucks it costs out of his own wallet for her not to go all crazy. I know I would have.

Quote: A manager allegedly told her, "If you don't activate the card, there is no way for us to pay you," according to the court complaint.

 

I would wager a bet that she just didn't understand what she was being told.

Check cashing costs? I can go to my bank and cash my check free of charge so implying she "owes them" is absurd.

 

I worked as a manager in food service in my teens and became privy to the schemes that certain franchisees will incorporate to save some cash. It saves the employers a TON of money to not issue printed checks and direct deposit is NOT free.

 

In short, the management took the cheap and easy way out; I hope the courts show them the error of their ways.

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$1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals,a 75 cent online payment fee per transaction

 

Just go to the ATM and get your paycheck in cash with the card. You are only out a small one time fee.

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i'm doesn't know about JPM, but

I do know some cards prevent you from totally withdrawing your balances in one go,

even if it not exceeding withdrawals limit.

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I'm sorry, but can you read z0phi3l, or did you just glance at it and fail to understand the words on the screen? 

 

Is this how you talk to people in real life, ranmas?

 

Here's a novel idea. Be respectful.

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Check cashing costs? I can go to my bank and cash my check free of charge so implying she "owes them" is absurd.

 

I worked as a manager in food service in my teens and became privy to the schemes that certain franchisees will incorporate to save some cash. It saves the employers a TON of money to not issue printed checks and direct deposit is NOT free.

 

In short, the management took the cheap and easy way out; I hope the courts show them the error of their ways.

yes, check cashing costs... its clear to me she doesn't have a bank account otherwise she would have settle for Direct Deposit... so check cashing is typically $3 fee + 3% of the check (places may vary)

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Those are not mandated by any employer I've known in PA or CT, they are an option for those that either don't have checking accounts or those that refuse to have one for whatever paranoid reasons, she could have simply opened a checking account and had her pay DDd into her checking account

Try reading all of the article, instead of just the headline.

Just go to the ATM and get your paycheck in cash with the card. You are only out a small one time fee.

Why should you have to pay a fee for your wages?

Is this how you talk to people in real life, ranmas?

 

Here's a novel idea. Be respectful.

There was nothing disrespectful in his post, at all.

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Well why can't she just get her own bank account and let McDonalds direct deposit her wages on there? That's how it always works in Belgium, for example (it really is the only way) and it works well.

 

Aren't there any banks that offer free service? I know that almost all Belgian banks require a yearly cost (about ?30 usually) and nothing more, no transaction fees, nothing.

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Well why can't she just get her own bank account and let McDonalds direct deposit her wages on there? That's how it always works in Belgium, for example (it really is the only way) and it works well.

 

Aren't there any banks that offer free service? I know that almost all Belgian banks require a yearly cost (about ?30 usually) and nothing more, no transaction fees, nothing.

 

I guess you didn't bother to read the article either...

 

Gunshannon said she asked her employer if she could receive her wages through direct deposit at her credit union, which she said did not accept payments through the payroll card. She is suing under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act for unjust enrichment.

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Oh ok, sorry, must have missed it. And I also don't really know what a credit union is? If it's just another bank account the employer really needs to change their policy, it's ridiculous.

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Oh ok, sorry, must have missed it. And I also don't really know what a credit union is? If it's just another bank account the employer really needs to change their policy, it's ridiculous.

 

I guess you haven't also bothered to google "credit union", either.

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I guess you haven't also bothered to google "credit union", either.

Well sorry, I don't Google every single word I read that I don't know the exact meaning of.

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Why should you have to pay a fee for your wages?

 

 

 

You aren't really paying a fee on your wages, but a fee for using the debit card.

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Well sorry, I don't Google every single word I read that I don't know the exact meaning of.

"credit union" is a 'member-owned' bank.

 

Easier to borrow money, lower interest rate, more friendly -- usually.

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Personally if the manager cannot do direct deposit with the employee then write a check.  How expensive is it to write a check?  There's gotta be some cost involved setting up these debt cards or getting some type of perks from the bank.

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I never got why people just cant get a darn checking account to start with.... most anymore more have a very low balance requirement... I've seen them as low as $10 minimum balance in Pennsylvania.... not saying that is the case here since she had a credit union account... but I've seen people get cards like this pay the fees and complain, just get a darn account and don't be scammed...

 

btw she had a choice in this case, but for some reason her choice wasn't accepted to get checks, the first story I read about this (a different site) said she choose to get checks put into her credit union account but the franchiser didn't listen and forced her to take the cards even though they gave her a choice

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You aren't really paying a fee on your wages, but a fee for using the debit card.

If you're forced to take your wages on a wage card, and there's a fee to take money from that wage card, it boils down to a fee on your wages.  That's fundamentally unfair.

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If you're forced to take your wages on a wage card, and there's a fee to take money from that wage card, it boils down to a fee on your wages.  That's fundamentally unfair.

 

Oh I agree but it happens a lot. My wife's employer requires direct deposit and yet our bank is now  trying to install debit card charges, so she is in essence having to do the same thing.

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Oh I agree but it happens a lot. My wife's employer requires direct deposit and yet our bank is now  trying to install debit card charges, so she is in essence having to do the same thing.

 

Vote with your feet then! Move to a bank who are less arsey.

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It's even worse in Australia.  Not only do most accounts have fees associated with them but the government charges a tax on all deposits.

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