McDonald’s Debit Card Lawsuit Causes Parent Company To Back Away

The McDonald’s debit card lawsuit has finally sparked a response from the McDonald’s parent company. In recent days, there has been a wave of bad publicity after an employee filed a lawsuit alleging that she was forced to use a fee-laden debit card to receive her pay — causing her to lose much of her tiny income to a big bank.

Ofelia Casellas, spokeswoman for McDonald’s, emailed the brief statement to The Times Tribune:

“Franchisees are independent, local businessmen and women who make their own decisions around employment matters. McDonald’s requires all franchisees to operate their businesses in accordance with all local, state and federal laws.”

In simple terms, McDonald’s corporate is not a defendant in this lawsuit. And they’d rather not take the heat for the controversial choices of the franchise owners.

As The Inquisitr reported earlier, the fracas started when a 27-year-old employee learned that she was required to accept her payment on a J.P. Morgan Chase debit card instead of by check or direct deposit. She had worked less than a month at the Shavertown, Pennsylvania franchise location before she discovered that Chase charged a significant percentage of her income to access her own money.

Paid only $7.25 an hour, plaintiff Natalie Gunshannon must pay $1.50 to withdraw money from an ATM and $5 to withdraw money using a teller.

The unkindest cut of all? Maybe it’s a 75 cent fee for online bill payment. Heck, Chase even charges her $1 to check her balance.

Yet the franchise owners haven’t offered her another way to receive payment.

You can read the previous in-depth report on Gunshannon’s McDonald’s debit card lawsuit right here.

Gunshannon’s attorney Michael J. Cefalo has filed a class-action lawsuit against the franchise owners Albert and Carol Mueller, who own not just the franchise where she worked but also at least 15 others in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Cefalo said that Pennsylvania state law requires the Muellers to pay in “lawful money” or by check. The state’s Department of Labor has said that debit cards can be a legal form of payment, but they must obtain employee authorization first.

Will the distancing work? It’s hard to say. As one commentor posted to the Times Tribune website, “Sorry McDonald’s corporate. This is YOUR brand. Pull the franchise now.”

McDonald’s has long battled bad publicity over so-called McJobs. The new McDonald’s debit card lawsuit won’t help their image.

Radu Bercan /