What are my rights if my previous employer sent me a letter stating that they overpaid me and are now asking for a return of their money?

They have given me 2 weeks from the receipt of the letter to pay or they are turning it over to collections. They have not provided a statement (as to why they reached the total that they reached) and the numbers are not adding up.

Asked on October 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If an employer erroneously overpaid an employee/former employee, it has a right to repayment. An employee is not entitled to keep money that it did not earn simply due to a clerical error. In the law that is known as "unjust enrichment", the remedy for which would be the return of the overpayment.
That having been said, before a court would instruct an employee to repay, the employer would need to demonstrate just how it concluded that in fact an overpayment was actually made; this would include specific calculations for arriving at the specified dollar amount.
At this point, you need once again to reach out to the HR department at your former employer. If you still fail to get satisfaction, you can consult directly with a local attorney. Sometimes just a phone or letter form a lawyer can get things moving. If not, then they can best advise as to your next step. You can also contact your state's department of labor for further assistance.


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