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McDonald’s Payroll Debit Card Class Action Lawsuit

By Anne Bucher

 

McDonald'sA Pennsylvania woman has filed a class action lawsuit against McDonald’s, alleging that their debit card payment system caused her to be paid less than minimum wage.

Natalie Gunshannon, 27, was hired by a Pennsylvania McDonald’s store on April 24. Her wage was $7.44 per hour, slightly more than the minimum wage. Rather than receiving a paper check or direct deposit option, the McDonald’s franchise paid its employees with JPMorgan Chase debit cards. These debit cards were subject to fees for virtually every type of transaction, including $5 over-the-counter cash withdrawals, $1.50 ATM withdrawal fees, $1 per balance inquiry, 75 cents per online bill payment and $15 to replace a lost or stolen debit card.


Gunshannon claims in the class action lawsuit that the franchise owner denied her request to be paid by check or direct deposit. She was told that the debit card was her only payment option. Subsequently, she quit her job and contacted a lawyer. She never activated the debit card, but asserts that the company owes her more than $200. She claims that the nearest Chase ATM was more than 60 miles away. If she wanted to access her money using an ATM from a different bank, she would be subject to an even higher fee.

While payroll debit cards can be beneficial for employees without bank accounts, Gunshannon is concerned that she cannot access the full amount of her paycheck without incurring fees. She alleges that these fees would cause her to earn less than minimum wage. As a single mother, she needs access to her full paycheck. She filed the class action lawsuit to ensure that other workers are treated fairly and have access to the full amount of their pay.

In the class action lawsuit, Gunshannon accuses the Muellers of violating the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection act. Pennsylvania law states that workers are entitled to be paid by a check or cash. While payroll debit cards can be a legal form of payment, an employer must obtain authorization from the employee first. The Consumers Union and National Consumer Law Center created guidelines for payroll debit cards in 2012. They recommend that employers must provide employees with the option of receiving a check or direct deposit in lieu of the payroll debit card. When a company does issue payroll debit cards, the employee must be able to access the full amount of the payment once per pay period without incurring additional fees.  

The McDonald’s wage and hour class action lawsuit was filed on June 13, 2013, in Luzerne County Court. The defendants are listed as Albert and Carol Mueller, the owners of more than 15 McDonald’s franchises in northeastern Pennsylvania, including Gunshannon’s place of employment. Gunshannon is seeking punitive, compensatory and liquidated damages against the company for its “ill-gotten gains contrary to justice, equity, good conscience and Pennsylvania law.”

The class action lawsuit is seeking to represent all current and former employees who were paid with payroll debit cards without the option to receive a paper paycheck.

This is not the first wage and hour class action lawsuit to be filed against McDonald’s this year. Last month, employees sued a McDonald’s franchise for shaving overtime from their paychecks.

The latest McDonald’s Wage Class Action Lawsuit case is Natalie Gunshannon v. Albert/Carol Mueller T-A McDonald’s, et al., Case No. 7010-2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County.

The plaintiffs are represented by Michael J. Cefalo.


If you believe your current or former employer violated wage and hour law, you have rights. Visit the Wage & Hour, Unpaid Overtime Class Action Lawsuit Investigation for more information and to receive a free case review.


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Updated June 29th, 2013

 

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