How much can an employer take from your check in order to pay back an overpayment?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How much can an employer take from your check in order to pay back an overpayment?

I am a blackjack dealer and we share a pool of tips. Well after 6 months they have been paying me for both shifts instead of mine. They have a team that handles of it and when I first started I was getting paper checks and noticed that they had paid me for both. So I went to the manager and we got it taken

care of. It was correct for the next 2 paychecks in which I didn’t have direct deposit so I had my paystub in hand. After switching to direct deposit I never checked my stubs as they were online. So they come to me last week and tell me that I owe $8,000 and are wanting me to pay $300 a check to pay it off. However, they won’t answer who is going to be getting the money as I have had a few friends quit that worked the night shift, so technically part of it is their money, so they should get

compensated, correct? Just needing to know if they can take that much or a percentage of my check, and if they had to compensate my friends that worked while I got paid some of their tips.

Asked on April 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Whether your friends are compensated is not your concern legally: if your friends have a claim for unpaid tips or wages, they can take action against the employer, but that does not involve you (other than possibly as a witness, if they sue and in the lawsuit someone calls you to testify). They have to assert their own legal rights, if they choose.
2) If you were overpaid, you definitely owe the money back: the law is clear that a mistake does not let you keep money to which you are not otherwise entitled.
3) They can't take any money out from your paycheck without your agreement; and if you do agree, they can only take out the amount you agree to.
4) If you and they can't come to an agreement about a payment plan, they could sue you for the money and, if and when they win, you'd then have to pay it all at once; if you agree that you were overpaid (and so will have to repay it), it is in your interest to work out a payment schedule with them that you can live with, rather than be sued.

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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