What to do if I was fired but my ex-employer is still depositing money via direct deposit?

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What to do if I was fired but my ex-employer is still depositing money via direct deposit?

The HR department clearly told me that my last pay period would be a month ago. For some reason probably some mistake in their last 2 pay periods every 2 weeks I noticed they are still depositing money into my account. I am going to contact them and let them know about it, and I am sure their followup will ask me to return the money. I am a little unclear if I legally am required, does anyone know about this?

Asked on June 1, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Legally, things are quite clear in this regard. An accident overpayment by an employer (or any person/entity) must be paid back. The law does not allow for "unjust enrichment", which is what keeping this money would be. This makes sense when you think about it. If you had been mistakenly underpaid, you would have the right to collect the shortage. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, you are legally required to return the money if they ask for it back. The law is very clear that an error or oversight does not entitle you to keep money to which you are not otherwise entitled. Just as if you accidentally wrote two checks to your plumber for the same repair (having forgotten when you wrote the second that you'd already paid), you would be entilted to the overpayment back and your plumber could not keep your money, so, too, can you not keep an overpayment (e.g. payment when you are no longer working) from your employer.


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