Work overpaid me.... Should I tell my boss?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 01, 2012 6:58 AM GMT
    My check last week was $100 too much... I always tell them when I get underpaid, am I morally obligated to do the same when they err on the side of my positive fortune? I know the right answer, but I was interested in opinions of both sentiments.


    UPDATE 10/2: Thanks for all the feedback. I told my Director of Operations if he could double check the sign in sheet for the week I was overpaid because I was pretty sure Accounting overpaid me. He thanked me for being so honest (P.S. to all the guys implying thievery, I will repeat my above statement in saying I know the right answer, I was just interested in an open discussion about the morality/legality of the issue, I have on 2 different accounts returned checks that were overpaying me) and we checked the sign in sheets. My name was there! So they didn't overpay me..... I am almost sure though I wasn't there that night, as I'm pretty meticulous about writing down my dates of work. But my Director signs us in when we walk in, and every spot is accounted for, so I must have worked I guess. (This was about a month ago).

    My main issue was that if I was overpaid, then that means someone would be underpaid the same week, as there is a set number of people who are supposed to show up. Anyways, I guess the thread was pointless since I apparently I worked and can't remember! Let's start a new topic.... Amnesia, the new Black?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:00 AM GMT
    IzzyMuscle said I know the right answer


    /thread
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:03 AM GMT
    You know it's not your money, and it does not belong to you. So to keep it would be seen as theft.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:05 AM GMT
    You're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:22 AM GMT
    "Always" implies it happens a lot I guess...I've only had 3 or 4 discrepancies in pay in the last year.
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:23 AM GMT
    tru_blu_aussie saidYou know it's not your money, and it does not belong to you. So to keep it would be seen as theft.


    Good point, thank you :-)
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:23 AM GMT
    Ariodante said
    IzzyMuscle said I know the right answer


    /thread


    LOL! still the best

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    Oct 01, 2012 7:24 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

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    Oct 01, 2012 7:25 AM GMT
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."
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    Oct 01, 2012 7:28 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."



    Ha yea. I like the idea of that. But still, technically/legally speaking, I didn't work for it, so it's not my money :-(

    I'm unequivocating though between this and FINDING money that's not yours, like on the street for example with no sign of ownership. However, I feel like there's some rule whereby you need to post "lost money" somewhere for two weeks before you can claim it?

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    Oct 01, 2012 7:31 AM GMT
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."



    Ha yea. I like the idea of that. But still, technically/legally speaking, I didn't work for it, so it's not my money :-(

    I'm unequivocating though between this and FINDING money that's not yours, like on the street for example with no sign of ownership. However, I feel like there's some rule whereby you need to post "lost money" somewhere for two weeks before you can claim it?

    No, there's no "lost money" rule. It's yours until proven otherwise. Just keep it handy (ie. don't spend it) in case the company's payroll system is automated. It'll deduct it from your next check.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Oct 01, 2012 7:41 AM GMT
    1). Morally, yes. I'm not even going to go into the principles or specific schools of moral philosophy that support this contention since it's apparent on its face (and admitted by OP).

    2). Legally. As a lawyer, I can tell you that you ARE under a legal duty, and that if you cash that check (which is, legally, a "negotiable instrument") KNOWING it is in an amount too high then you are guilty of FRAUD. If the bank is in more than one state, you just triggered FEDERAL jurisdiction and can be guilty of equivalent federal crimes too. You could, if the DOJ or State AG wanted to, spend years in jail and pay thousands in fines. Though a slap on the wrist (and thousands in attorneys' fees) is more likely.

    3). Practically. The boss knows you watch your check. If you just happen to "not catch" the one time its in your favor, and the boss finds the error, you've lost trust and credibility and will likely be the first to be cut if the proverbial axe swings.

    It makes no sense to do an immoral, illegal and and practically stupid act of risking your job to profit a measly 100 dollars.

    Seriously dude, seriously?
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Oct 01, 2012 7:45 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."



    Ha yea. I like the idea of that. But still, technically/legally speaking, I didn't work for it, so it's not my money :-(

    I'm unequivocating though between this and FINDING money that's not yours, like on the street for example with no sign of ownership. However, I feel like there's some rule whereby you need to post "lost money" somewhere for two weeks before you can claim it?

    No, there's no "lost money" rule. It's yours until proven otherwise. Just keep it handy (ie. don't spend it) in case the company's payroll system is automated. It'll deduct it from your next check.



    Not trying to pick a fight, but I'm guessing you're not a lawyer since this is blatantly illegal. "Check fraud," in any form, is severely frowned upon by the court system. Should the Judge or fact finder discover this guy KNEW (i.e., had the requisite malice scienter/mens rea) it was wrong but cashed it anyway, he's in trouble.

    It's not a technicality, it's illegal. Period.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 01, 2012 8:18 AM GMT
    Svnw688 said1). Morally, yes. I'm not even going to go into the principles or specific schools of moral philosophy that support this contention since it's apparent on its face (and admitted by OP).

    2). Legally. As a lawyer, I can tell you that you ARE under a legal duty, and that if you cash that check (which is, legally, a "negotiable instrument") KNOWING it is in an amount too high then you are guilty of FRAUD. If the bank is in more than one state, you just triggered FEDERAL jurisdiction and can be guilty of equivalent federal crimes too. You could, if the DOJ or State AG wanted to, spend years in jail and pay thousands in fines. Though a slap on the wrist (and thousands in attorneys' fees) is more likely.

    3). Practically. The boss knows you watch your check. If you just happen to "not catch" the one time its in your favor, and the boss finds the error, you've lost trust and credibility and will likely be the first to be cut if the proverbial axe swings.

    It makes no sense to do an immoral, illegal and and practically stupid act of risking your job to profit a measly 100 dollars.

    Seriously dude, seriously?


    Yes to all 3. Thanks for the response. I won't cash it till my boss tells me I should and maybe deduct from my next check, or to void it and wait for a new one
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    Oct 01, 2012 8:18 AM GMT
    Svnw688 said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."



    Ha yea. I like the idea of that. But still, technically/legally speaking, I didn't work for it, so it's not my money :-(

    I'm unequivocating though between this and FINDING money that's not yours, like on the street for example with no sign of ownership. However, I feel like there's some rule whereby you need to post "lost money" somewhere for two weeks before you can claim it?

    No, there's no "lost money" rule. It's yours until proven otherwise. Just keep it handy (ie. don't spend it) in case the company's payroll system is automated. It'll deduct it from your next check.



    Not trying to pick a fight, but I'm guessing you're not a lawyer since this is blatantly illegal. "Check fraud," in any form, is severely frowned upon by the court system. Should the Judge or fact finder discover this guy KNEW (i.e., had the requisite malice scienter/mens rea) it was wrong but cashed it anyway, he's in trouble.

    It's not a technicality, it's illegal. Period.
    He never stated whether or not he cashed the check.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 01, 2012 11:09 AM GMT
    You already know the answer.
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    Oct 01, 2012 11:24 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Svnw688 said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."



    Ha yea. I like the idea of that. But still, technically/legally speaking, I didn't work for it, so it's not my money :-(

    I'm unequivocating though between this and FINDING money that's not yours, like on the street for example with no sign of ownership. However, I feel like there's some rule whereby you need to post "lost money" somewhere for two weeks before you can claim it?

    No, there's no "lost money" rule. It's yours until proven otherwise. Just keep it handy (ie. don't spend it) in case the company's payroll system is automated. It'll deduct it from your next check.



    Not trying to pick a fight, but I'm guessing you're not a lawyer since this is blatantly illegal. "Check fraud," in any form, is severely frowned upon by the court system. Should the Judge or fact finder discover this guy KNEW (i.e., had the requisite malice scienter/mens rea) it was wrong but cashed it anyway, he's in trouble.

    It's not a technicality, it's illegal. Period.
    He never stated whether or not he cashed the check.


    You're kind of mixing up laws here. It's not check fraud unless he actually changed the check to be $100 more. - and yes, I spent years in banking. If the check was printed with an incorrect amount on the company's end, and was then signed by someone with authority to sign on the account, then he has every legal right to cash a check that is made out to him for a specific amount of money. It is a legal document and he has done nothing legally wrong by cashing it. The company has the legal obligation to pay him that money because they made the error.

    The bank has also done nothing wrong by cashing the check for the amount it was made out for. They have no means of determining whether it was made out for a correct amount or not. - They would be entity that reports check fraud.

    It's an ethical issue at the moment more than a legal one. He can keep the money, but if the company realizes their mistake, they will want it back. Then does he damage his relationship with his employer by refusing to give it back, or does he choose to have integrity and return the money?

    The OP knows the answer.

    Are you an attorney svnw688?
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    Oct 01, 2012 12:36 PM GMT
    Keep it, delete this thread and pretend you didn't notice.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Oct 01, 2012 12:38 PM GMT
    Give it back... you deserve a raise for a reason and it's because you are an honest and dedicated employee. Give them reason to know it!
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    Oct 01, 2012 1:23 PM GMT
    Yes. Bookkeeper Will catch it at some point. Better to show your honesty.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Oct 01, 2012 1:30 PM GMT
    Eventually they will catch the mistake....they ALWAYS do.

    Fess up now and make some brownie points with the boss.


    icon_idea.gif
  • aaronkei

    Posts: 211

    Oct 01, 2012 1:42 PM GMT
    I was always taught that if you were in someones house and you found a penny on the floor, leave it because you never know when someone is testing you to see if you are trustworthy. It will also probably get you some awesome browny points with your boss if you tell him and return the money. A raise or a promotion is always a good thing!
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    Oct 01, 2012 1:45 PM GMT
    I never understand questions like these, that is, when you say "should I do the right thing?"
    Really?
  • billy321

    Posts: 137

    Oct 01, 2012 1:48 PM GMT
    ConQuest said
    paulflexes said
    Svnw688 said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes said
    IzzyMuscle said
    paulflexes saidYou're not obligated to do a damn thing except keep it in the bank. That way when the company pays you $100 less next payday, you won't be struggling to pay rent at the end of the month.


    I liked this till I read yourname's response haha

    No rent Paul, I live in a house.

    Replace the word "rent" with "mortgage."



    Ha yea. I like the idea of that. But still, technically/legally speaking, I didn't work for it, so it's not my money :-(

    I'm unequivocating though between this and FINDING money that's not yours, like on the street for example with no sign of ownership. However, I feel like there's some rule whereby you need to post "lost money" somewhere for two weeks before you can claim it?

    No, there's no "lost money" rule. It's yours until proven otherwise. Just keep it handy (ie. don't spend it) in case the company's payroll system is automated. It'll deduct it from your next check.



    Not trying to pick a fight, but I'm guessing you're not a lawyer since this is blatantly illegal. "Check fraud," in any form, is severely frowned upon by the court system. Should the Judge or fact finder discover this guy KNEW (i.e., had the requisite malice scienter/mens rea) it was wrong but cashed it anyway, he's in trouble.

    It's not a technicality, it's illegal. Period.
    He never stated whether or not he cashed the check.


    You're kind of mixing up laws here. It's not check fraud unless he actually changed the check to be $100 more. - and yes, I spent years in banking. If the check was printed with an incorrect amount on the company's end, and was then signed by someone with authority to sign on the account, then he has every legal right to cash a check that is made out to him for a specific amount of money. It is a legal document and he has done nothing legally wrong by cashing it. The company has the legal obligation to pay him that money because they made the error.

    The bank has also done nothing wrong by cashing the check for the amount it was made out for. They have no means of determining whether it was made out for a correct amount or not. - They would be entity that reports check fraud.

    It's an ethical issue at the moment more than a legal one. He can keep the money, but if the company realizes their mistake, they will want it back. Then does he damage his relationship with his employer by refusing to give it back, or does he choose to have integrity and return the money?

    The OP knows the answer.

    Are you an attorney svnw688?


    From my experiences as a former payroll manager, it does become more of an ethical issue than legal one......input from our company legal department was that as a company error it is difficult to demand repayment (i.e. automatically deduct from another paycheck), but we would inform the emplyee and ask them to authorize the deduction. Without that approval we could not automaticaly deduct the overpayment.

    That being said, I agree that coming forward will reap you more benefits than not saying anything and getting caught later (with your pants down so to speak icon_smile.gif ).
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    Oct 01, 2012 1:53 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said$100 to show your integrity to your boss? That actually sounds like a great investment.


    THIS.

    Best response to this thread.