What is my legal responsibility if my previous employer still pays me a direct deposit check weeks after I left the company?

UPDATED: May 10, 2011

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What is my legal responsibility if my previous employer still pays me a direct deposit check weeks after I left the company?

Asked on May 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Unless you are entitled to that money for some reason--e.g. it is payment for unused vacation; it is pursuant to a  severance agreement providing for additional compensation; you are still working for them in an offsite capacity and this is payment therefore--you will have to return the money if asked to do so. You should therefore not spend the money. Ideally, since it's not yours, you should inform the company and return it; but at a minimum, you will have to return it upon demand, and must be prepared to do so.

2) If you end up keeping the money under some circumstances, it is income and you will have to pay income taxes on it, or else you will have violated tax law.

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