If I was accidentally given too high of a raise and a higher retroactive payment, can my company now ask for repayment in full?

UPDATED: Nov 30, 2011

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If I was accidentally given too high of a raise and a higher retroactive payment, can my company now ask for repayment in full?

Firstly I am in a union environment which I’ve been working without a contract for the past 3 years. A contract was decided upon and retroactive raises were implemented in our paychecks. I first noticed a reduction in my salary after our raises followed by another reduction. I called payroll and they told me they had accidentally given me the wrong raise and had corrected it. I have recently been contacted by a higher up about my company requiring me to pay back a total of $690 in mistaken wages paid to me. I was told if I do not sign the agreement to repay the amount in full I will be taken to civil claims court. What are my options?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can pay or you can be sued. If you were overpaid--i.e. paid more than you were supposed to be paid for the work you in fact did--you do not have a right to keep the money; you have to return it. If you do not work out a plan with your employer to voluntarily pay it, they may sue you to recover the funds. Obviously, if you feel that you were not overpaid but instead received what you were entitled to, you would not pay and would instead defend yourself, by showing you were entitled to the money, if sued.

However, if you do legitimately owe the money and your employer wants it, you will either need to work out a payment plan or risk a lawsuit.

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