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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Can an Employer take money out of my Checking Account? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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irossall
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Snohomish, Washington
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Several years ago the company I work for deposited a bonus of $2,080.00 into my Checking account (I have direct deposit). After I spent some of the money, my company took back my bonus. I was left with a bank balance of -$212.00 (I only had about $30.00 in my account prior to the deposit).

I was not told or warned that the bonus was going to be taken away from me. I found out when I tried to use my debit card to pay for my groceries.

I understand that this is "water under the bridge" but it has always bothered me that I did not pursue legal advice at the time.

My question is, did I do the right thing and just let it go, or should I have retained a Lawyer?
-Iven
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Salguod Nairb
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It sounds more like a contract agreement. My contract states that I will have to pay back my sign-on bonus if I leave the contract early (use to be only 6 months, but things are changing) and I have heard of companies pulling money out of accounts for damages and such. I protect my account by not being the primary on it. They can't touch it if you are not the primary.

You may have signed something when you started your contract that they may have not clarified for you.
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
NicholasD
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Quote:
On May 21, 2015, irossall wrote:
Several years ago the company I work for deposited a bonus of $2,080.00 into my Checking account (I have direct deposit). After I spent some of the money, my company took back my bonus. I was left with a bank balance of -$212.00 (I only had about $30.00 in my account prior to the deposit).

I was not told or warned that the bonus was going to be taken away from me. I found out when I tried to use my debit card to pay for my groceries.

I understand that this is "water under the bridge" but it has always bothered me that I did not pursue legal advice at the time.

My question is, did I do the right thing and just let it go, or should I have retained a Lawyer?
-Iven


Did you ask why they took it back? Did they deposit it in error?
NicholasD
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Quote:
On May 21, 2015, Salguod Nairb wrote:
It sounds more like a contract agreement. My contract states that I will have to pay back my sign-on bonus if I leave the contract early (use to be only 6 months, but things are changing) and I have heard of companies pulling money out of accounts for damages and such. I protect my account by not being the primary on it. They can't touch it if you are not the primary.

You may have signed something when you started your contract that they may have not clarified for you.


If you have a joint checking account, there are no primary or secondary signers. Both signers are equally responsible for any garnishments. Even if you've been designated as a secondary signer, you're still equally responsible. If you don't have signing authority, that might be a different matter.
Salguod Nairb
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It's not a joint account. I can't take a loan against the account without the primary’s signature, even though all the deposits are in my name.
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
stoneunhinged
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My wife and I have been trying for over a year to have her children's father's wages garnished, but with little success.

But y'all didn't want to know that. Smile
irossall
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I have direct deposit for payroll.

Everyone got the bonus. I was never told why my bonus was withdrawn. I am the only person to have had this experience as far as I can tell (I asked around).

It was the boss of my boss that had it withdrawn. The extra $35.00 NSF was added to my account as well.

The courtesy of talking to me would have been greatly appreciated.
-Iven
Give the gift of Life, Be an Organ Donor.
rockwall
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I'm more surprised that you didn't find out why it happened than that you didn't pursue legal recourse.
Salguod Nairb
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If they didn't provide a reason then it could be considered breach of contract since everyone else on the task received the bonus. Some states allow you to sue up to 6 times the value if they don't have a valid reason OR failed to contact you. Heck, it might even be a felony.
We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness...
Dannydoyle
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Maybe asking the company as it happened instead of on a magic message board a couple years later might have yielded better results.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
S2000magician
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The answer to your original question is, "Yes, clearly they can."
rockwall
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In fact, I suspect that if you were to approach a lawyer with this case, the first thing they would want to know is, "Why did the employer do that"? And if you said, "Well, I don't really know", they'd say, "OK, why don't you ask them?, Once you find out the answer, I'll let you know if you have a case!"
Dannydoyle
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On May 21, 2015, S2000magician wrote:
The answer to your original question is, "Yes, clearly they can."


Good point the correct question would be "should they have?"
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
irossall
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I do not have a contract with the company.

I asked Human Resources and they were very hostile towards me and said that I would be contacted by the the person responsible for ordering the reverse deposit. I was never contacted. I really don't care about the money (the company must need it more than me) it's the principle of the matter that bothers me. The fact that they can get into my Checking account without even telling me is not very comforting to me.
I understand that once I put money in the bank, it no longer belongs to me. It belongs to the bank.

I never did nor do I ever intend to waste my time going after something that never really wasn't mine to begin with. Had it been payment for hours worked, my attitude would definitely be different.

I just wanted to hear what some here at the Café thought. Without exception, my fellow employees thought this was not legal. I believe it is immoral.
-Iven
Give the gift of Life, Be an Organ Donor.
S2000magician
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On May 21, 2015, irossall wrote:
I understand that once I put money in the bank, it no longer belongs to me. It belongs to the bank.

Your understanding is incorrect: it's yours, not the bank's.

You're merely letting the bank use it: you're lending it to the bank, and they pay you interest for the privilege of using your money.
rockwall
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Well, first off, I'm not a lawyer.

But ... I think that if they have access to your account and are able to make deposits to it, they also have the ability to withdraw from it.

Now, if they were to withdraw something from it that wasn't theirs, they could certainly be sued for that.

If they deposited something to your account by mistake, I suspect that they are both legally AND morally able to withdraw it.

However, if they deposited something to your account that you expected, like a bonus, and you used that money in good faith, and then they withdrew it and left you with overdraft fines, etc., I think you should have gotten an explanation, possibly an apology, and certainly reimbursement for any fines that you may have paid.

But like I said, I'm not a lawyer. I might be wrong on all points.
NicholasD
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Your employer can take it back if they mistakenly credited your account. They can also debit your account if you gave them some sort of prior authorization. Those are pretty much the only ways.
NicholasD
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On May 21, 2015, Salguod Nairb wrote:
It's not a joint account. I can't take a loan against the account without the primary’s signature, even though all the deposits are in my name.


I don't mean to belabor the issue, but borrowing against the account, which requires documents signed by all signers on the account, is a separate type of transaction. All signers on an account, whether secondary or otherwise are equally liable when it comes to attachments, judgements , etc. If you can sign a check and/or use a debit card to withdraw funds from an account, you're liable for anything that happens with that account.
S2000magician
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On May 21, 2015, rockwall wrote:
I might be wrong on all points.

Could anyone ask for a better straight line as a setup?
imgic
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A few years ago, I was in similar situation. Company I was working for was to deposit a $5,200 bonus in my account. The day of the deposit I saw $52,000 hit my account. While elated, I realized somebody added two zeros, and being the good little scout I am, I called payroll. They thanked me profusely. I asked if I was going to have to write a check or how we were to handle this. They told me that when a company direct deposits into somebody's account, they have 24 hours to "reverse post" the deposit, and effectively taking the money back. That's exactly what I did. If I'd waiting until the next day, they wouldn't have been able to take it back.

Guessing that's what happened to you.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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