Single mom Natalie Gunshannon from Pennsylvania is suing McDonald’s for paying her wages through the JPMorgan Chase Payroll Card, which charges various fees for use, ultimately resulting in Gunshannon earning less than minimum wage.

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ABC News reports that Gunshannon is “hoping to have her case certified as a class action on behalf of the other employees who were paid with the Payroll card.”

The Chase Payroll Card currently charges a $10 inactivity fee after 90 days, a $1.50 ATM fee, and also a $0.75 per online transaction.

According to the lawsuit, McDonald’s “does not provide a choice for hourly employees to receive their justly earned wages through a bank check, cash or direct deposit.” Gunshannon had allegedly asked to get her wages in the form of direct deposit, but was denied, which forced her to use the Chase Payroll Card.

In addition, “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.”

A payroll card essentially functions like a debit card, but they are only offered by employers who are paying workers for their services. You cannot apply to get a payroll card, and the sole purpose of the card is for employees to deposit a worker’s wages. Employees can withdraw their money through ATMs or a cash-back purchase.

However, there are fees associated with the cards, which is why Gunshannon is suing McDonald’s in the first place, because the accumulation of usage fees would bring her $7.44 hourly wage down below the Pennsylvania minimum wage of $7.25.

According to an attorney for Consumers Union who was interviewed, “some employers are motivated to pay wages with these payroll cards to cut the cost of distributing paper checks.”

Do you think that Gunshannon is fair to sue McDonald’s? Have you ever been paid with a payroll card? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • Rose

    Hope she wins.

    With a debit card you have no proof of FICA taxes or income tax deducted. This would not give confirmation that they were paid only that they were deducted. I would never want a debit card. Would also always insist on a stub with hours, wages and taxes and anything else deducted.

  • highinterest

    Offering no alternative is grossly unfair. Also unfair is the fact that McDonald’s will undoubtedly retaliate with fewer/worse hours, if not the usual corporate tactic of retroactively revised reviews being used as a cause for termination.

  • Sarah

    Ridiculous of this McDonalds! I worked McDonalds and was given paper checks and I have friend who get paid by card merely because they didn’t have a bank account and couldn’t open one! This isn’t the case and that’s pretty rude of them to be using such a crappy card! Also, as a customer of chase, how dare they issue such a card to employers wanting to use a payroll debit card! Imply the fees on McDonald’s when issuing the card not the employee having to use it

  • RBShevlin

    Whereas I believe that the McDonalds owner should have still offered their employee’s other options, the real question here is what exactly were the no-fee options that were available to the employees? One articles stated that you could withdrawal the money for free from ANY VISA member bank (thats just about all banks right?) a different article made it sound like you could only withdrawal the money for free from a JPMorgan/Chase bank (which, depending on where you live, could be a great inconvienence). I just wish that when someone publishes an article like this that they would take the time to do a complete investigation (a couple of phone calls?) and report ALL the facts so that readers could make an informed decision.

  • sheep

    FYI – She never used the card.