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Judge Rules Against McDonald's Owners Who Paid Employees With Debit Cards

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In Pennsylvania at least.


A Pennsylvania judge is not loving the McPayment system used by local McDonald's franchise owners Albert and Carol Mueller. According to the Times-Tribune, Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. ruled late last week that the Muellers — who own 16 McDonald's locations — broke the law by paying thousands of employees exclusively by debit card. These prepaid debit cards, also known as payroll cards, are ladened with fees that cut into the actual amount of money employees receive.

Two years ago, a former employee sued the Muellers over the cards. The franchise owners eventually changed their payment policy but the lawsuit continued and turned into a class action suit with 2,380 members. The Times Leader writes that the judge ruled in Pennsylvania the debit cards did not count as "lawful money of the United States." Burke wrote in his opinion "[new] proposed legislation would allow payroll cards as one of several options for obtaining wages, rather than the exclusive one," which would then make payroll cards legal because then they would be a choice. Many other states already have similar legislation.

McDonald's is facing significant backlash regarding the payment of its employees. Many of its workers are protesting the low wages and are demanding a $15 per hour salary alongside the right to unionize. Recently, the chain announced it would give a dollar per hour raise to some of its employees, but it only applied to small portion of its workforce.

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