What are my rights if my previous employer sent me a letter stating that they overpaid me and are now asking for a return of their money?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are my rights if my previous employer sent me a letter stating that they overpaid me and are now asking for a return of their money?

They have given me 2 weeks from the receipt of the letter to pay or they are turning it over to collections. They have not provided a statement (as to why they reached the total that they reached) and the numbers are not adding up.

Asked on October 23, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If an employer erroneously overpaid an employee/former employee, it has a right to repayment. An employee is not entitled to keep money that it did not earn simply due to a clerical error. In the law that is known as "unjust enrichment", the remedy for which would be the return of the overpayment.
That having been said, before a court would instruct an employee to repay, the employer would need to demonstrate just how it concluded that in fact an overpayment was actually made; this would include specific calculations for arriving at the specified dollar amount.
At this point, you need once again to reach out to the HR department at your former employer. If you still fail to get satisfaction, you can consult directly with a local attorney. Sometimes just a phone or letter form a lawyer can get things moving. If not, then they can best advise as to your next step. You can also contact your state's department of labor for further assistance.

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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