If I was paid too much in my paychecks are they allowed to ask me to pay it back?

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If I was paid too much in my paychecks are they allowed to ask me to pay it back?

My employer has been paying me double for part of my job due to how their new IT guy set up the claims in the computer. This has been happening for 5 months and now they want to take it out of my paycheck for the next 6 pay periods. Is what they are doing legal and do I have any legal rights to the money that was given to me and already spent?

Asked on June 14, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have any rights whatsoever to this money: your legal right is to be paid the agreed upon amount for working, no more and no less. Just like the company would not be entitled to keep your money if they accidentally underpaid you for five months before you noticed it, so, too, you are not allowed to keep the company's money due to an accidental overpayment. The fact that you spent the money has no bearing on your obligation to repay it, and in the future, when you receive an unexpected windfall, simply put it safely in a bank account until you can confirm that it is yours--that way, you can repay it without problem at need.

The company cannot take the money out of your pay unless you agree to let them. But since if you don't agree to let them, they can fire you for cause and also sue you for the money, it is probably in your interest to agree to allow them to recover the money this way.


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