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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 16849
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I terminated the contract in july of last year. I was just

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I terminated the contract in july of last year. I was just informed of this issue today. I was previously unaware that I had been overpaid.
JA: Was this retaliation? Or based on age, race, religion, gender, or disability?
Customer: No
JA: What kind of workplace is this (private sector, public sector, etc.)? How many employees?
Customer: It is a small theater with 5 employees
JA: Where are you located? Workplace termination laws vary by state.
Customer: Iowa
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. It will be my pleasure to assist you. What precisely is your question for me please?

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
As an independent contractor am I required to pay it back. Also am I required to pay it all back immediately as they are demanding?

Thank you. If the money was paid to you by mistake, you have to pay it back regardless of whether you're an employee or contractor. Simply put, the money is not earned and is not yours. Just as you wouldn't acquire ownership of someone's wallet if they left it in your house, the law treats overpayments the same way.


I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications, and the information provided is not legal advice.

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Do I have to accept their time table?

You don't have to accept anything. However, they can choose to file a lawsuit against you at any time. And if they can prove that you intentional refused to repay them, it might even be possible for them to recover punitive damages, meaning damages above and beyond the actual overpayment intended as a penalty for "willful conduct."

Customer: replied 3 days ago.
Ok. Thank you!

You are welcome. The good news, if you can call it that, is that most employers really don't want to file lawsuits. The process is expensive and time consuming. This fact gives you some amount of leverage in negotiating payment terms. Your employer is going to want to work with you because their alternative of filing a lawsuit is not going to be very appealing to them.


Again, please feel free to let me know if you have any further concerns. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service (using the stars at the top of the page) so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Very best wishes.

Patrick, Esq. and 2 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you