What is my responsibility if my previous employer deposited 2 salary paychecks after my departure?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is my responsibility if my previous employer deposited 2 salary paychecks after my departure?

As stated, old employer has continued to pay me regular salary paychecks after separation date of 11/20 of last year. The paystubs are clear as far as what they are paying me for, and I’m positive it’s not role over vacation/ sick time/unpaid commissions. I have sent HR an email regarding it but haven’t heard back. My Once the issue has been addressed by payroll, should I expect to have to pay it back in one lump sum or will they want some type of payment plan? Will they take me to court if I can’t repay in time? When I left the company, I signed separation papers, everything was official. I never received a final paycheck with accrued vacation pay or sick time on it. I was just paid on the regular time of month as usual with regular pay.

Asked on January 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you received pay to which you were not entitled--such as paychecks after you stopped working--you have to repay it. The law is very clear that an error does not allow you to keep money which should not have been paid to you. 
Technically, you'd have to repay the money in a lump sum: if you are not entitled to it, you need to return it right away and have no right to keep it for any extended period or to repay over time. That said, almost all employers will, as a practical matter, allow a repayment plan.
If you refuse to repay, or you and your former employer cannot out a repayment plan to which you both agree, they do have the right to sue you for the money.

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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