Can an employer take almost 50% of 1 paycheck for over payments owed without notifying the employee first?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer take almost 50% of 1 paycheck for over payments owed without notifying the employee first?

Unbeknownst to me I was overpaid for a couple months and didn’t even know until they took $1500 out of my check today. They recently changed some pay rates around which coded and caused errors in a lot of places.

Asked on February 18, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, the employer may not do this without your consent or agreement. An employer may only withhold money from employee paychecks with employee consent or as required by law (e.g. tax withholding; court ordered wage garnishment). They could sue you for the money, if they believe you owe it and won't repay it (note: if you were overpaid, you have to return it--an error on their part does not entitle you to keep an overpayment); or if you don't have a contract protecting your employment and don't voluntarily repay, they could choose to fire (or demote, reduce pay, suspend, etc.) you. But they can't withhold money without your consent.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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