If I no longer work for an organization that is claiming I owe them a repayment from my last check, am I legally responsible to repay a payroll error?

Asked on August 20, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you were actually overpaid i.e. paid more than you were entitled to for the period your worked, based on your wages or salary due to a payroll error, then yes, you have to repay them. You can only keep money to which you are legally entitled, and an error does not create an entitlement to an overpayment. Suppose you owed a plumber $80 but accidently wrote an extra "0", or $800, on the check the fact that you made a mistake would not let the plumber keep your extra $740. You would expect that you'd be entitled to get the money back, and you'd be right if you didn't get it back, you could sue the plumber and you'd win. Similarly, the employer's error does not let you keep their money you have to return it to them, and they may sue you if you do not.

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