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I work an hourly job. I got a letter today telling me that they overpaid me and I owe them money. My job pays minimum wage and I'm not sure how they "overpaid" me, their computers pay me per second that I work. I can view the hours I've worked in the past but they're on a website that my company owns so I'm not sure if they're 100% legitimate.

The company is large, there's a few thousand stores nationwide, so it's not a mom-and-pop shop.

I turned in my two weeks one week ago, so they most likely knew about this before but didn't tell me. They haven't taken any money out of my account yet and I put a block on direct withdraws. However, I'm worried they will just take it out of my last paycheck.

My question is, do I actually owe them money?

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    Just want to remind you that while any advice you get on this site may be useful, it does not serve as an alternative to a real legal opinion, and should not be relied on overmuch. – Roy May 26 '15 at 22:18
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    What state do you live in? This will likely be governed by state law. – Justin Lardinois May 27 '15 at 1:11
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    Washington state – Jon May 27 '15 at 1:14
  • Dear OP: It's been a few months. Has anything happened in the meantime? – unforgettableid Sep 10 '15 at 1:38
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    @unforgettableid My paycheck added up to what I should have gotten paid for the last two weeks (we get paid by-weekly) and I ignored the note. Nothing happened and I quit about 2.5 months ago so I'm assuming I'm in the clear. – Jon Sep 10 '15 at 2:23
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Go to know that you live in Washington.

Per RCW 49.48.210, They must give you written notice with their evidence.

Per RCW 49.48.210, section 3, you can (and should) request a review of the employer findings.

Since the employer gave you the money, and you nor they saw any error until now, you may be protected under estoppel (WAC 388-02-0495).

In the response letter, I would write something along the lines of

" [Company Name] has paid IAW my expected rate and acted correctly when I received my money. I have also spent the money in good faith. Indeed, I still cannot see that any overpayment has actually happened. Please send me exact details why you believe that I have been overpaid, and why you believe that estoppel does not apply. Until this manner has been resolved per RCW 49.48.210, section 3, I request that you continue to pay my wages at normal rate for my time. I do not accept liability for the actions or inactions of [company name] and the claimed overpayment."

Get receipt that the employer received the notice.

Because it is in review, they don't have the right to garnish your wages.

Challenge everything at the review. If something was changed or edited, challenge that.

I would open up a new thread if they did that much.

Best of luck

  • That last bit about estoppel will probably help a lot, thank you. – Jon Jul 1 '15 at 17:48
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    The estoppel is a very nice clause for the employee and employer. It forces the employer to keep good records and do what is right ( I think thats a good thing for the employer) and protects the employee against shady employers. – Jdahern Jul 1 '15 at 19:26
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From mhoran_psprep’s answer on Personal Finance & Money:

Ask for documentation proving the amount they say you were overpaid, and ask for time to review their claim.

If it is a large amount that they can prove you owe, and if you were staying, then you could ask for the repayment to be spread over multiple pay checks. This would avoid the situation where you could get a very small check or even a check for zero. Because you are leaving, you could ask for time to reimburse them, but don't count on them agreeing to that deal.

The lesson is to save all time cards, especially ones in which your hours are not consistent. Also save all pay stubs for the year.

What you should do now is download all the time card and pay info on the website, before you lose access to it. These should be saved on your home machine, or printed and kept at home. Check to see if they made any time card adjustments. Many systems keep track of all changes made by the employee and by management; both before and after the employee signs the time card. If there are change you should be able to ask them to explain the changes.

Addendum: if the company can prove that they did overpay you, then generally, yes, you do need to pay them back. You should likely retain a lawyer immediately to protect as many rights as possible.

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    While that's great advice for anyone going through payroll conflict, it doesn't seem to address the issue of legalities associated with reimbursement. – Ohnana May 26 '15 at 22:58

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