Can an employer punish an employee financially for a payroll mistake made by HR department?

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Can an employer punish an employee financially for a payroll mistake made by HR department?

My husband was informed that due to
misinformation entered by someone in his
employer’s HR department, he was ‘paid too
much’ and now they’re taking quite a bit out of
his paycheck for it to be paid back. Are they
allowed to punish him like that even though
it’s not his fault?

Asked on October 24, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

He's not being punished: if there was an error resulting him being paid more than he was entitled for (e.g. more than he actually earned, given his wage and days/hours worked), then he simply losing money he should not have received and had no right to in the first place. The law is clear that you are not allowed to keep money that you only received due to someone's error, even if the error was not your own.


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