If HR doesn’t change your pay differential and actually overpays you, should you be required to pay it back?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If HR doesn’t change your pay differential and actually overpays you, should you be required to pay it back?

My job has certain positions that requires a pay differential, we also bid in and out of these positions. I was in

a position that gave a .50 pay increase, when I bid out of this position HR neglected to change my pay back to the original pay. HR now says that I was overpaid $568 and I have to pay back $142 a pay. Should I have to pay it back? Who determines at what rate should it be paid back per pay period? After all it was HR that didn’t do their due diligence.

Asked on March 4, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You do have to repay the money: the law is very clear that a mistake by A in overpaying B does not let B keep money to which B is not otherwise entitled. You were paid more than you should have been, at a higher rate than applicable: that mistake does not give you a right to the money.
2) They cannot simply take the money from your pay without your consent or agrement; there are no payroll deducations without employee consent or a court order. But if you and they don't work out a mutually agreeable repayment agreement, they could a) sue you for the money and b) terminate you for refusing to repay money to which you are not entitled. It therefore is in your interest to work out a payment plan with them.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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