How far do I need to go when explaining to former company they were paying me for 5 months after I quit?

After quitting my job 7 months go, my company still was sending me paychecks like I was an active employee. At first I thought it might be for vacation and then I thought it might be some kind of severance but after 5 months I contacted HR to look into it and they said everything looked fine on their end. It took 3 more emails to them telling them I was getting paychecks until they finally told me I wasn’t supposed to be getting them. They didn’t/havent asked for the money back. This is a huge multi billion dollar corporation. What more (if anything) do I legally have to do?

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You eventually will have to pay the money back.  If they request the money back and you do not pay it back, they will most likely sue you for it, and they will win.  Also, keeping the money could be considered criminal theft.  The key statute in Arizona is ARS 13-1802(A)(4) A person commits theft who knowingly:

Comes into control of lost, mislaid or misdelivered property of another under circumstances providing means of inquiry as to the true owner and appropriates such property to the person's own or another's use without reasonable efforts to notify the true owner

At least now you have not only made efforts, you have made the employer aware of the problem.  Be prepared now to return the money when asked.

 And make sure this gets sorted out with respect to your taxes.  You had no income and no taxes withheld by this company in 2012.  You want to make sure that is accurately reported to the IRS. 

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