If I have to repay my employer for an overpayment, can they garish my paycheck?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I have to repay my employer for an overpayment, can they garish my paycheck?

They said it has to be handled like a garnishment from wages and that I cannot

just write them a check for what I owe. Why not? The overpayment is from last year.

Asked on August 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It can be handled like garnishment, but there is no legal requirement that it be done that way: checks are legal. Moreover, they cannot take the money out of your pay without your consent or agreement, or (if you won't pay) without suing you and getting an actual court order for garnishment. The law is very clear that employee pay may not be deducted or withheld, even if the employee owes the employer money, without consent or a court order. That said, if you do owe them the money, it is likely not worth getting into a legal fight with your employer over how they are recovering it (you'd have to sue them if they insist on taking the money out of your paycheck without your permission--and even if you won, you'd still owe the money and they could sue or countersue you for it), but instead it is likely better to let them take it out.

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