If my employer overpaid me canit take the money back?

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A mistake,  such as being overpaid by mistake, does not give you a right to the money; you have to return it. (Consider: if you were paying for a plumber by check and accidentally wrote $275 on the check instead of the $175 the invoice was for, the plumber would not get to keep your extra $100.)

The law does not let your employer simply take the  money out of your paycheck without your agreement or consent. If you refuse to pay, your employer would have to sue you to get the money back. However, if you don't have an employment contract preventing you from being fired for this--and most people don't--your employer could elect to terminate you if you refuse to correct an overpayment, in which case you'd keep the money (unless he also sues) but lose your job.


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