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Home Depot Final Wages in Unactivated Debit Card California Class Action

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Home Depot Sign on Store Front

Stores of Home Depot USA, Inc. are standard fixtures in many areas of the country, well-known for their orange signs and big-box dimensions. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the company uses a far less standard way of paying terminated employees their final wages: a debit card.

The class for this action is all employees of Home Depot located in California who were terminated by Home Depot or resigned and who were given a debit card as the final payment of all wages owed. 

Plaintiff Ellery Strebin was a non-exempt employee of Home Depot in California. Strebin was terminated on March 9, 2019. However, he was not given a final check. The complaint says, “When [Home Depot] terminates an employee, rather than provide a check for all wages due upon termination, as required by law, [Home Depot] provides a cash debit card to the terminated employee which purports to include all wages owed and due.”

The California Labor Code does permit this. However, the complaint notes, it “requires that any debit card containing final wages owed must be available for cash withdrawal of all wages owed and due and also include an address of a location where the cash obtained in that card can be withdrawn by the employee for the entire amount of wages owed and due.”

The card given to Strebin did not meet these requirements. To begin with, it did not contain the address of a “banking establishment” where he could immediately convert the card to the money owed him. Instead, Strebin “had to wait days to activate the card before he could deposit it in his bank account, in violation of” the Labor Code. Strebin “also had to wait until his bank was open because the card [Home Depot] provided for final payment of wages owed and due could not be deposited in an ATM.”

The complaint names the first cause of action as failure to pay wages due at separation of employment. 

However, as often happens with labor violations, this leads to a second liability under California’s Labor Law: “Labor Code section 203 provides that if an employer willfully fails to pay compensation promptly upon discharge or resignation, as required by Labor Code sections 201 and 202, then the employer is liable for penalties in the form of continued compensation up to thirty (30) word days.”

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