If there was a salary overpayment for former employee, what can an employer do to get the money back?

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If there was a salary overpayment for former employee, what can an employer do to get the money back?

I have 2employees that I inadvertently overpaid by 1 additional payroll each. Both have refused to pay it back after several e-mail exchanges and phone conversations. One owes $8,333 and the other $2,500. What can an employer do to get the money back? Can we garnish their wages through small claims court or civil suit?

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, you have to establish your entitlement to the  money--that is, you have to sue them and win, obtaining a judgment in your favor. You should be able to do this fairly easily, be providing evidence of what they were supposed to have been paid and what they were in fact paid.

Once you have the judgment, if they don't pay, you can:

1) Levy on their bank accounts (take the money out of their bank; you'd find out where they bank by serving "information subpoenas," if you don't already know).

2) Garnishing wages (though not in a very small number of states, chief among them TX)

3) Putting a lien on real property

4) Executing on (forcing a sale of) some other belongings, like vehicles.

For the amount of money you describe, it would be worthwhile to retain an attorney and let a lawyer help you.

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