Skip to main content

What are my rights when my employer overpaid me wages?

Sacramento, CA |

The 3rd party vendor who handles my company's payroll notified me after my W-2 was issued and they didn't show me any documentation of how they calculated the amount of overpayment. I asked for a copy of the policy and procedure of what happens in an overpayment situation and for an explanation of the overpayment calculations. They said they would do another audit. They then came back stating the findings were the same, but still provided no proof. When I asked again for an explanation and policy and procedure, they changed the amount. I am still not confident the amount is correct but because so much time has passed they are now demanding a lump sum payment and threatening bad performance reviews if I fail to pay by 12/27/13. What are my rights? Do they have to provide me a policy?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 3


No. There is no law that says they have to give you an accounting. It would be a nice thing to do, but the bottom line is if they are right, you will have no defense to their adverse action by complaining that you were not given an accounting.

Presumably you know what you were owed. If you are salaried, you know what your salary is. If you are hourly, you presumably know how many hours you worked and at what rate of pay. If you are piecemeal, ditto. Take your numbers and compare the their. Do not just sit back with their money in your pocket and say "prove it or I wont repay." That is a recipe for disappointment.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


You are entitled to pay stubs that reflect the number of hours you worked and the hourly rate at which you were being paid. If you work on commission basis, you are entitled to a written commission agreement which indicates how your commissions are to be calculated and when they vest.

You are not entitled to any sort of "explanation" beyond this. If your employer overpaid you then you have to give that money back. You can be sued and/or fired if you don't.

This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.


I agree with my colleagues that if you actually owe the money, the employer can pursue you for it. However, the employer would have to seek recovery through a small claims or civil action against you as the employer is not entitled to what is called "self help" by deducting the amount they claim you were overpaid from your future earnings.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer