California Employment Law
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Good afternoon Eric, I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. Under CA law, when an employer makes an overpayment error in wages paid to an employee, they are not allowed to deduct the overpayment from the employee's wages, but instead may ask the employee to agree to pay it back voluntarily, or sig a written agreement allowing the employer to take the money out of the wages of the employee. However, an accidental overpayment is eventually recoverable by the employer and if the employee will not allow their wages to be deducted from for the debt, then the employer has the legal right to file suit to recover the accidental overpayment. While I do empathize with your situation, and it seems rather unfair for the employer to demand such a large amount be repaid in such a short time, then can make the demand and it is not illegal. Your options are to agree to the payment schedule they propose, tell them that your expenses cannot possibly take such a hit and make a counter proposal for a different repayment schedule, or simply refuse to pay at all and see if the employer files suit. The risk that you have is that if you are an employee at will, and don’t have a written contract guaranteeing you employment, the employer could discipline or even terminate you if you fail to agree to any repayment schedule they eventually might demand. The law will not prevent you from being disciplined based on a refusal to repay the debt---even if you can’t afford to repay it as demanded.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation. Thank you,Doug
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