If my employer accidentally overpaid me, can it withhold my final paycheck as repayment?

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If my employer accidentally overpaid me, can it withhold my final paycheck as repayment?

I took a 2 month, unpaid leave, from my job While away, my employer paid me for 2 weeks even though they weren’t supposed to. When I returned, I worked for 2 weeks, then handed in my 2 weeks notice. Without telling me, they decided to withhold my final paycheck as repayment for the money they paid me when I was away. Can they legally do that? And was it legal for them to do it without telling me they were going to do it? I only found out when I called to ask why I didn’t receive my final check.

Asked on September 12, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An employer may not make a deduction or withold a paycheck, whether or not it is for the repayment of an employee loan, without the employee's express consent i.e. in writing. The fact is that if you owe the money, your employer has a right to be paid back but the correct action to take is to sue in small claims court if they demand repayment and you do not make it.
At this point, you can file a complaint with your state department of labor and/or consult directly with an employment law attorney in your area.


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