If my employer overpaid me canit take the money back?

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2012

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If my employer overpaid me canit take the money back?

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A mistake,  such as being overpaid by mistake, does not give you a right to the money; you have to return it. (Consider: if you were paying for a plumber by check and accidentally wrote $275 on the check instead of the $175 the invoice was for, the plumber would not get to keep your extra $100.)

The law does not let your employer simply take the  money out of your paycheck without your agreement or consent. If you refuse to pay, your employer would have to sue you to get the money back. However, if you don't have an employment contract preventing you from being fired for this--and most people don't--your employer could elect to terminate you if you refuse to correct an overpayment, in which case you'd keep the money (unless he also sues) but lose your job.

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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