If a company overpays on a settlement, do I legally have to return the money back?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If a company overpays on a settlement, do I legally have to return the money back?

I was recently involved in a lawsuit against my previous employer due to unpaid wages for overtime pay. The case was settled but I received 2 checks from my lawyer and an extra check that was

Asked on March 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The law does not favor "unjust enrichment". In other words, when someone is enriched at the expense of another; the law treats views thai as unjust. So in your situation, your former employer's mistake would benefit you for something that you did not earn. And when a person is unjustly enriched, the law imposes an obligation upon them to make restitution. Accordingly, you are legally obliged to repay your ex-employer for the overpayment. And if you think about it, if you had accidentally been underpaid, your former employer would be obligated to pay you the shortfall.

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