What are my rights regarding a mistaken payment from my employer?

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What are my rights regarding a mistaken payment from my employer?

I just recently received a call from my previous employer that I haven’t worked for in over 6 months about a direct deposit they made into my account. When I first say the deposit, I thought it was backpay from not paying me the correct hourly wage when I worked there, so I ended up putting it towards my credit card. Now, almost 2 weeks later, I got a call saying that they made a mistake and want me to reimburse them for the amount that was deposited into my account. What legal responsibilities do I have to reimburse them and if I don’t reimburse them what trouble can I get into?

Asked on February 13, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The law considers such an incident as an "unjust enrichment"; something that is disfavored by the courts. Basically, a person cannot benefit from the mistake of another; and an accidental payment is such a mistake. Accordingly, you must return it. And think about it, if your former employer accidentally shorted your last paycheck, they would be liable to make up the difference.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The law considers such an incident as an "unjust enrichment"; something that is disfavored by the courts. Basically, a person cannot benefit from the mistake of another; and an accidental payment is such a mistake. Accordingly, you must return it. And think about it, if your former employer accidentally shorted your last paycheck, they would be liable to make up the difference.


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