What can I do if my employer is charging me for overpayment for their mistake?

I work for an airlines and I originally started at the SFO airport where the pay rate is higher. I transferred over to Oakland, and when I transferred my pay was supposed to decrease from $13.51 to 1$2.55. However, when I transferred 6 months ago, they never decreased my pay to what it was supposed to be. While I understand that I would have to pay back some money, they are charging me $625 for their mistake of not completing the transfer through to this new

station. I was still recieveing all my work related mail through SFO since last month, and now

that they finally realized that I’m at this new station they are charging me for overpayment. I

shouldn’t have but I did sign a agreement for repayment but it’s really bothering me that they

waited 5 months to fix this situation. I agree that I should pay back some but $625 is high

amount due to their mistake. Can you let me know what I can do from this point?

Asked on May 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were aware that you should have been paid less, you have to repay the overpayment: someone else's administrative mistake does not entitle you to keep an overpayment. So if you knew, or reasonably should have known (e.g. the payscales are in a contract, or in the employee manual, or in a letter to you, or otherwise available) that your rate was reduced to $12.55, then you are liable to repay the full amount of the overpayment.
If there was no way for you to know that they "should" have reduced your pay, however, then you would normally not have been liable for the overpayment: in that case, your pay remained what it was until they told you it was at a lower rate.
However, if you signed a repayment agreement, you are now bound to what you signed; you have to repay the amount you contractually (in the agreement) agreed to pay.

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