What is my obligation to pay back an overpayment of my salary if my employer did not live up to its agreements?

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What is my obligation to pay back an overpayment of my salary if my employer did not live up to its agreements?

I recently left a full-time job. At hire, I was told I would receive health insurance and a 401k plan, which are both noted in my contract. I was also told I would receive commissions for my sales job and was presented a commission structure. I never received commissions or 401k, and it took 5 months to get health insurance. I’m hoping the IRS will not make me personally pay for not having health insurance as they had on numerous occasions told me it would be available on the 1st of the next month. Also, on numerous occasions I was paid days to weeks late, and I’ve incurred numerous bank fees. Now that I have left, I’ve been informed I was accidentally overpaid and that I need to pay over $2k back. What should I do?

Asked on January 21, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You have a 2-fold situation here. First, you are liable for reimbursing this overpayment; a person cannot be "unjustly enriched" under the law. Second, if in fact there was a breach of an employment agreement, that you would have a cause of action for that claim but it will involve going to court and proving your case (assuming that you cannot reach an out of court settlement).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you were in fact overpaid, you'd have to repay the money--even if you believe they breached their own obligations or owed your money for other things, that does not let you keep money to which you are not entitled. However, if you do believe that they did breach their agreement and owe you for other things, you could sue them for those amounts; if you win in court, you'd get a judgment requiring them to pay whatever amounts you can prove they should have paid.


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