Can a former employer come after you for repayment, claiming they over paid you?

I was laid off and now my former employer sent me a letter stating that they overpaid me. Per my separation, I received a severance. I was in sales, so I had both a commission and at risk component. They provided no supporting documentation.

Asked on May 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you were truly paid more than you were supposed to be paid, such as due to an adminstrative, data entry, or accounting error--
* e.g. paid a salary or wage at a higher rate than you in fact were earning, or paid for more hours than you had worked
* or commissioned at a higher rate than you should have been, or for a sale or transaction which was not yours
--then they could "come after" you for the overpayment; the law is clear that a mistake does not let you keep money to which you are not otherwise entitled, and that if you will not repay it, the employer can sue you for the overpayment. To win, they would need to be able to prove in court that you were paid than the amount to which you were entitled.

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