Banking entities have been actively marketing to businesses in my state, attempting to get as many of them as possible to abandon traditional pay-stub-and-check payroll in favor of debit cards the employer compels the employee to take their pay through. Currently, as discussed in the answer to this question, federal law and my state's laws allow this practice. Unfortunately for me, my religious leaders are discouraging me from engaging in direct deposit, and are encouraging me to avoid services like automatic bill pay that would allow third parties access to my banking. As stated in the question linked above, the viewpoint taken by the law has been that someone with an objection can just seek employment elsewhere. That is unfortunately not true for me. Because of the overwhelming proportion of businesses in my area that are using these enforced debit card policies I am no longer able to reliably find an employer that will issue a paycheck. I would like advice on how to handle this issue without moving to another state or resorting to filing a religious discrimination case.

  • Could you specify the state? Jul 6, 2019 at 17:23
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    Can you explain what specifically your religious leaders are taking objection too? How about you open an account solely for the purpose of receiving a pay check. Once your paycheck is deposited you can immediately move the money (through a check, ATM or automatic transfer) to an "acceptable" form of money keeping. That would minimize the time the money spend inside the objectionable account. Would that be ok?
    – Hilmar
    Jul 6, 2019 at 18:46
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is either a request for specific legal advice, or it is not about the law or legal process.
    – user4657
    Jul 6, 2019 at 21:12
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    If you don't wish to take legal action, then as Hilmar says, your options basically boil down to "ask nicely and try to negotiate". On that point, a better place to ask would be Workplace.SE. Jul 6, 2019 at 21:22
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    Also, there are SE sites devoted to some specific religions - if yours is one of them, the people there might have some other practical or theological suggestions. (Currently, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, unless I've missed any.) Jul 6, 2019 at 21:23

2 Answers 2


It's unlikely that you can legally force an employer to give you a physical pay check. Hence you should explore how you can attain your goal with negotiations or workarounds. Since it's not entirely clear what you specific objection is, we can only speculate. Here are some ideas.

Most businesses prefer direct deposits because it's faster, cheaper, safer and lot less prone to clerical errors.

  1. You could setup a single use account that only receives the pay deposit and you move out the money immediately after deposit
  2. You can offer the employer to compensate them for the extra work and cost associated with cutting and handling a physical check
  3. You could offer to indemnify your employer against clerical mistakes, lost checks, delayed payments, etc.
  4. You can try to set up an escrow account that is handled by an "acceptable" and neutral 3rd party. This party can receive the money and move it per your instructions, so you don't have to handle it yourself

Many employers will be willing to flex a little, if it's not too much work & effort for them and if you can articulate your need in a way that makes sense to them.


The 1st Amendment has never been held to require a private entity to positively support people's religious convictions. Absent proof of discriminatory intent, i.e. they targeted you with the policy, or a local law requiring reasonable accommodation, a suit would be pointless.

It's regrettable you are put in this position, but there is little legal recourse.

  • The question you answered was not the question I asked. I asked for advice on how best to handle the situation and said I do not want to file a lawsuit. Jul 6, 2019 at 16:44
  • Okay, I misunderstood about you being employed with such a business already. I think that reinforces the answer from the linked question. Sorry, I can't answer differently to that.
    – zeroone
    Jul 6, 2019 at 17:09
  • Besides the OP saying that they were looking for a method other than a lawsuit, any lawsuit would not be based on the First Amendment, it would be based on statutes that prohibit discrimination. And anti-discrimination laws also cover cases of disparate impact, even if there is not discriminatory intent. Jul 6, 2019 at 18:36
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    @RegionalDirector your request for advice on how to handle the situation without suing might be better suited to The Workplace.
    – phoog
    Jul 6, 2019 at 18:56
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    @RegionalDirector You could flag the question for migration, but since you already have two law-oriented answers here, it's probably better to leave it and post a new question there. You can link the questions to each other for context.
    – phoog
    Jul 11, 2019 at 23:48

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