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How is this legal?--Paying the poor with fee-trapped cards

Paid via Card, Workers Feel Sting of Fees - NYTimes.com
A growing number of American workers are confronting a frustrating predicament on payday: to get their wages, they must first pay a fee. For these largely hourly workers, paper paychecks and even direct deposit have been replaced by prepaid cards issued by their employers. Employees can use these cards, which work like debit cards, at an A.T.M. to withdraw their pay. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, using the card involves a fee. And those fees can quickly add up: one provider, for example, charges $1.75 to make a withdrawal from most A.T.M.’s, $2.95 for a paper statement and $6 to replace a card. Some users even have to pay $7 inactivity fees for not using their cards. These fees can take such a big bite out of paychecks that some employees end up making less than the minimum wage once the charges are taken into account, according to interviews with consumer lawyers, employees, and state and federal regulators. Devonte Yates, 21, who earns $7.25 an hour working a drive-through station at a McDonald’s in Milwaukee, says he spends $40 to $50 a month on fees associated with his JPMorgan Chase payroll card. “It’s pretty bad,” he said. “There’s a fee for literally everything you do.” . . .

June 24, 2013

Unpaid interns suing Gawker for back pay

Hopefully this is just the start and unpaid interns who were exploited all over America lawyer up and sue the pants off the corporations that exploited them. 'Ungrateful' Unpaid Interns Sue Gawker and Nick Denton - Connor Simpson - The Atlantic Wire
Three former interns are suing Gawker and publisher Nick Denton over their time spent writing, editing and doing things that would otherwise be compensated in cold, hard cash for the New York blog empire. The three interns, identified by the New York Post, claim they spent at least 15 hours a week working for Denton's network in the lawsuit filed Friday in a Manhattan federal court. Aulistar Mark, Andrew Hudson and Hanchen Lu held Summer internships within the Gawker network between 2008 and 2010. Mark and Hudson worked for Kotaku and i09, respectively, but Lu has no detectable presence on any Gawker sites that we could find. (If you find evidence of his work, please forward it to us.) All three claim they wrote, edited, did social media and were even forced to moderate Gawker's notoriously miserable comment sections during their internship and were "not paid a single cent," the lawsuit says, according to Bloomberg: “Gawker employs numerous other ‘interns’ in the same way, paying them nothing or underpaying them and utilizing their services to publish its content on the Internet, an enterprise that generates significant amounts of revenue for Gawker,” the plaintiffs said in the complaint, which was filed on behalf of all of the company’s unpaid interns. Of course, this is all coming on the heels of a judge validating Eric Glatt and Alex Footman's claim claim that Fox Searchlight should have paid them as production interns on Black Swan. The internship lawsuits have since been popping up all over town, obviously, by disgruntled former interns looking for late-game compensation for their work. Editorial employees seem more rankled about the ruling than others; Conde Nast was also sued within the last week.

Paula Deen forced black employees to work her private parties, refused to pay them

New Allegation: Paula Deen Paid Black Employees in Beer
This morning, an African-American oyster cook who formerly worked at one of Paula Deen's restaurants came forward and said that during his time there from 2008 to 2010, Deen regularly made him and other black employees work the parties on her Savannah estate without pay. Instead, they were compensated with beer. "Paula and Bubba just gave us beer and alcohol and I don’t even drink. It was insulting and unfair. I was like, 'Pay me!' She knew I had just gotten married. I had a baby on the way. I needed the money and I was the only one to step up and complain over it because half of the kitchen just needed their jobs. I was fired over it in the end because I’m not afraid to speak my mind." She also allegedly threatened their jobs at the restaurant if they declined to work the parties. Oh, and one "family member" referred to one black employee as "my little monkey."