If my former employer is still paying me via direct deposit, must I pay it back or can I keep it?

UPDATED: May 28, 2011

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If my former employer is still paying me via direct deposit, must I pay it back or can I keep it?

I was let go from my employer of 2 weeks a month ago. I was paid for the time I worked when I was let go. However, since then I have also received a direct deposit for the last 2 pay periods. Am I obligated to pay it back or can I keep it?

Asked on May 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No you cannot just keep this money; it is not yours.  You have no right to this "salary" simply because a clerical or administrative error caused it to be sent to you. Think about it. Would someone else would have a right to a computer you ordered and paid for simply because it was delivered it to the wrong home? The fact is that at some point this could become both a civil and/or criminal matter. So notify your former employer of its mistake ASAP.

Note:  If you paid in taxes and benefits (social security, etc) then your repayment will not be the only item that needs to be adjusted.  Talk to your employer about sending adjusted amounts to the agencies and funds to which you pay in.   

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