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Employeer says he overpaid me, I disagree, we had no hiring agreement

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  • Employeer says he overpaid me, I disagree, we had no hiring agreement

    I've been working for my current employeer for 10 weeks. He just told me that they discovered that they have been overpaying at $40 an hour when they say it should have been $20 an hour. There was no hiring agreement and the compensation negotiations were frustratingly vague. I worked there without any agreement not sure what to expect on my first paycheck. When it came back at $40 an hour, I thought it was because they were please with my performance and decided to meet my salary requests (the range for people in my field in nyc is anywhere form $35 to $65 an hour. A salary of $45k is considered entry level and I've been working in this field for 20 years. They orginally offered $38K base with opportunity to earn up to $65k in bouses and I objected because the bonus criterea was incrediably vague "do a good job and don"t worry you will earn it" I expressed concern over this, asked to be and they said they'd "think about it"). They are withholding my current paycheck and want me to agree to have a certain amount withheld from each future paycheck.

    I just want to be paid my last paycheck and quit because these people are incrediably unprofessional and the mismanagment is rampant and the turn over rate is extrememly high.

    My questions is: since there was no hiring contract or salary agreement can they say I was over paid and owe them back money?

    Complcating factor: When the first pay period came and I had no agreement or hiring contract I paniced and submitted a timesheet for hours worked. i came up with an arbitrary amount of $20 an hour because i just wanted to be paid something and I though i'd at least get that much from them. I never expect to continue working there. Im afraid that now that could be viewed as a "contract"

    I honestly thought the $40 meant that they were happy with my performance and that it was an incidication they had choose to meet my salary demands.

    anyone know - can they sue me to pay back the difference? They never ever did give me an answer on my "rate" and i thought that paycheck and the subsequent paychecks all at $40 constituted a contract.


  • #2
    There's no law that requires any employer to provide you with a written agreement or even an offer letter that outlines your employment. It's certainly a best practice, but it's not a legal requirement. No one can predict what they are going to do now that they have discovered the discrepancy, and anyone can sue anybody for anything. It's a he said-he said situation, and the outcome of any suit would likely depend on who is the most believable. Your timesheet would not be viewed as a contract, but it likely could be viewed as an acknowledgement on your part of a $20 starting salary.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


    • #3
      In general an employer cannot claw back wage dispute just because they say so ..they are free to modify your wage going forward

      Unless there was some written misunderstanding I don't get it...If they paid you $40 per hour and they,regard that as too much..they can change it going forward.

      I would avoid comments about what you think you are worth...that's not entirely relevant
      We are not talking about $ 40 / hr and some clerk hit a wrong key and it came out. $4000 an hour obvious mistake.

      They are on weak grounds to,withhold an existing paycheck perhaps worse than weak grounds

      It is not your job to divine your pay rate after being hired.

      It is your employers job to maintain accurate time records.

      my suggestion..look up the wage payment laws ..and follow them to a T as to,failure of employer to pay timely. NY is a bit employee friendly but it's been a long time since Imread the NY read them.
      And it serves no added leverage to,quit in a huff..force them to play their hand.

      If they say the new rate is to be say $ 20....repost not agree and then quit ..In some jurisdictions a whopper pay cut is considered a fire ..I'm just out of touch as to how the winds blow in NY.

      Be careful of your jargon...salaried tends to mean something other than non exempt hourly and the major key is are you paid hourly non exempt or exempt salaried ..and Ther are a few other wrinkles if you are say an IT pro
      And NY has its own wage laws general an employee gets the better of the two state or federal.


      • #4
        You might want to read this link re New York wage payment laws for informational purposes.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


        • #5
          Hi thanks for the replies everyone. I am very stressed over this.
          I saw this passage in the link that was sent to me by the last poster:

          New York employers are required to give all employees at the time they are hired and on or before February 1 of each year written notice of the following:
          the employee’s rate of pay;
          the employee’s overtime rate of pay, if the employee is subject to overtime requirements;
          the basis on which they are paid (per hour, per shift, per week, piece rate, commission, etc.);
          any allowances the employer intends to claim as part of the minimum wage, including tips, meals, and lodging;
          the employee’s regular payday;
          the employer’s name and any names under which the employer does business (DBA);
          the physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business and the employer’s mailing address, if different;
          the employer’s telephone number.
          The notice must be provided to employees in English and their primary language, if their primary language is not English. NY Labor Law, Art. 6, 195.1

          In addition to giving the notice to their employees, employers must obtain written acknowledgment, signed and dated, from their employees that they have received the notice and a copy of the signed and dated notice must be provided to the employees. Employers must retain the signed and dated notice and acknowledgment for six years. NY Labor Law, Art. 6, 195.1

          This would suggest to me that they ARE required to put in writing my pay rate, which they never did, which is why I had no idea what my rate would be and so when I received my first, second, third and forth paycheck, each time with a rate of $40 an hour, I had no reason to assume it was a mistake.

          If this is ttue then I feel a lot better about things....


          • #6
            It is not your job to,tell employer what they failed to,get it,for now.
            If the employer bungles a statutory requirement ..not cool in NY...dirty hands hurt employer.
            Note prior notice of a reduction is also,required. Again , sit back.
            Note failure to pay in full timely is a form of,wage theft in NY.see wage theft prevention act

            I do not know..but if employer paid at rate of $40 per hour for,some 10 weeks ..seems to me that is the status quo until such time as employer makes a proper,change or terminates the relationship...

            It's been a long time ..but years ago some of our staff jumped thru big hoops to make NY payrolls on time and correct ..even when old fashioned mainframes " crashed" ...NY was NOT very forgiving if workers were not paid on time.

            Keep exquisite records in some safe off site may need them ....