Can an employer ask for a refund of bereavement pay if they find out that an employee lied about the death of a spouse?

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Can an employer ask for a refund of bereavement pay if they find out that an employee lied about the death of a spouse?

I currently work in HR. I found out that an employee, who filed and collected bereavement pay, lied about 2 immediate family members dying within days of each other. His newborn and then his wife soon after. We recently discovered that his wife is very much alive and was never pregnant to begin with. We have proof on the document filed and emails. That worker is no

longer with the company. He quit soon after, stating that the stress from the deaths were too much for him. We would like to pursue this matter as we are under the assumption that this isn’t the first time, he has done it and even if we aren’t able to get the money back, we want to do something so that this person does not get to defraud another company in this or any other capacity. I am clueless as to where to begin. We have not contacted this individual so he

is not aware that we are on to him.

Asked on July 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In this situation you can certainly ask for the pay back, and if he won't voluntarily return it, you could sue him for the money. You would sue him for "theft by deception"--that is for stealing money by lying. You could also contact the police to file a police report and potentially press charges.


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