If you quit a job but they sent you an additional check you did not earn can you keep it?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If you quit a job but they sent you an additional check you did not earn can you keep it?

A check was mailed to me for a pay period I did not work can I keep it.The check cashed and deposited.

Asked on June 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot keep it. To do so would constitute what the laws calls "unjust enrichment". In other words, gaining a benefit for a service, etc. that was not provided. The fact is that you will need to return the accidental payment as you have no entitlement or right to that extra money. If this seems unfair consider that if your former employer accidentally underpaid you, you would want it to make up the difference. And further, you’d have a legal right to make them do so.

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