Can I get fired if I refuse to pay back what my employer claims to be an overpayment?

I dont agree with my employer about being
overpaid. If I don’t pay it back can I be fired or
can they garnish it from my check??

Asked on July 9, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can refuse but you can be fired for this reason, any reason or no reason at all. That is unless you have an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary. The fact is that most work is "at will", so a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). As for any paycheck deductions, this would be illegal (at least without your written authorization) unless you employer obtains a judgment against you in court which would give them the legal right to garnish your wages (although they would first have to submit proof of its claim to the court).

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can refuse but you can be fired for this reason, any reason or no reason at all. That is unless you have an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary. The fact is that most work is "at will", so a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). As for any paycheck deductions, this would be illegal (at least without your written authorization) unless you employer obtains a judgment against you in court which would give them the legal right to garnish your wages (although they would first have to submit proof of its claim to the court).


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