Can an employer collect overpaid wages after termination?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer collect overpaid wages after termination?

I had an employer terminate me because of a conflict with my school schedule in April. I just received a paycheck from them in August. I never signed any document saying that they had a right to collect over payments from me, do I need to pay them back?

Asked on August 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You will need to ay this money back. Think about it, had they underpaid you then you would have the legal right to collect the shortage. The fact is that if you keep this money, money that you did not earn, in the eyses of the law this would constitute an "unjust enrichment". Thisis something that the courts disfavor. Accordingly, if you don't voluntaruly agree to repay this accidental overpayment, your ex-employer can take you to court. Further, you'll never be able to use them as a reference regarding future employment.

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