California Employment Law

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I was terminated by my employer May 3rd 2013. After I my termination…

I was terminated by my...
I was terminated by my employer May 3rd 2013. After I my termination I continued to receive pay checks for the next 2 months. I contacted HR about the mistake but was told the payments were in line with my departure from the company. I received over 11K during the next 2 months. I have now received a letter from my previous employer stating the paychecks were made in error and the company now wants me to pay them back the total amount and are giving me 15 days to do so. This notice came over 90 days from when the first paycheck was sent. I know I have no recourse regarding the over payment but do I have any options regarding paying the money back. I am currently unemployed so writing them a check for over $11,000.00 in 15 days won't happen. I am willing to pay the over payment back but I need time to do it. What rights if any do I have in asking for a repayment plan.
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Answered in 22 minutes by:
8/26/2013
Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,299
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
Verified
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

First off, if you believe that you may owe less than your ex-employer is claiming then you should request all records of them in order to verify that you do owe the amount requested. In addition to ensuring you that you only pay the amount of wages that were actually overpaid, you would be able to 'buy some time' that way as well.

There's no right to a payment plan, unfortunately, but your employer should be more than willing to accept one. Despite what your previous expert informed you, it is unlikely that your employer would file suit against you anytime soon. That would put them out a substantial sum on attorneys, court costs, etc. that would eat into the money that they want back from you. (If they take any step due to non-payment, they'd probably refer it to a collection agency first, since that involves less of a cost than hiring an attorney and filing suit).

I do also think it's quite ridiculous for them to only give you 15 days to repay this overpayment, when it was their fault, and they should recognize that you current financial situation would not allow for you to repay the amount immediately. They should definitely be willing to work with you on this, especially since you're likely judgment proof currently, so they're not going to get anything out of you even if they were to sue you.

On top of that, even with a court ordered judgment, they can't take your unemployment benefits, and you are likely judgment proof otherwise, meaning that you have no assets they could actually get at at this time, so it would likely take them years, if ever, to actually recover money from you if they were to sue (which as I mentioned is unlikely).

That puts you in an extremely good position to at least negotiate a good payment plan arrangement that you can afford and that would not put you in an economic hardship. On top of that, it is at least worthwhile to try to negotiate down the amount of repayment they want back. Although they could possibly get the whole amount eventually (if they sued you), they should be willing to take a lower amount for an agreed settlement repayment-plan agreement.

Since you informed them about the errors and they continued to send you the checks, they should assume some responsibility for their errors and be willing to negotiate for a lower amount in order to receive a guarantee that you will repay (most of) the over-payment in wages you received.

I hope the above information is helpful.

Please let me know if you have any clarifying or follow up questions, since I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service today.

Thanks and best of luck!
Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,299
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
Verified
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Hello Paul,

Thank you for your positive rating of my service and the generous bonus! It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should you have future legal questions.

Please request me directly by placing “to Joseph” at the beginning of your question and/or requesting me directly in California Employment Law.

When you receive your Customer Satisfaction Survey from JustAnswer, please do rate me highly (9-10) there as well. It benefits my ability to assist you and other customers, and would be tremendously appreciated.

Thanks again and best of luck,

Joseph

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