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  1. #1
    mikeyzer0 is offline Junior Member
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    Wages paid into wrong account

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    Hi, I'm a UK citizen, and I did some work for a company in the US. They paid my wages into an incorrect account, and have said that they will not pay me until they can recoup the funds. Is there any legislation that pertains to California employment law that would support me in my quest to get them to pay me now, whether or not they can recoup that money from the errant account? I have been looking through California law, but can't find anything that relates to this.

    Is there anyone that I could consult on this?

    Many thanks for your insight!

    Mike
  2. #2
    pattytx is offline Senior Member
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    If you actually performed the services in California, you could theoretically file an unpaid wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement in CA.

    Realistically, though, California is broke, the backlog of wage claims is huge, state employees are furloughed several days a month, and overtime is not being allowed. What I'm saying is by the time the DLSE actually gets to your claim, I'm sure you would have been paid way before then. Was this a wire transfer to a U.K. account? If so, those take longer to retrieve than if the amount was directly deposited to a U.S. account through the Automated Clearing House.

    Having said that, and having been a Payroll Manager for a number of years at a company that employed non-US residents, if it were the payroll department's mistake, I would fix it without waiting for the funds to come back. But that's just me.
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  3. #3
    mikeyzer0 is offline Junior Member
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    Hi PattyTX,
    Many thanks for your prompt reply!
    I am a touring engineer, and the work was carried out in many states, California being one of them. I selected California, as this is where the business management division of the company in question is based. Basically, the crux of the matter is that they paid my wages into my ex's account, after I gave them incomplete details of my new personal bank account (it was missing the IBAN and SWIFTBIC codes, but still had new account number and sort codes and clear instructions to use the new account).
    I believe they had a Duty of Care to contact me before paying the money into the account (in a third-party's name) to either explain what they planned to do before doing it, or seeking further nstruction. I believe they were negligent in not doing that, and as a result paid money into an account that they had no mandate or request to do so.
    This company is a privately owned company, not a state or government organisation. Is Californian DLSE still pertinent in my case? Is there someone else I can contact. I guess I could use an attorney here to write them a letter, but I'm not sure it would carry any enforceable weight, being as we're dealing internationally. Would I be better off with Stateside representation? What would be the best way to go about that?
    Many thanks for your timely assistance!
    Mike
  4. #4
    pattytx is offline Senior Member
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    If you work in multiple states, then the next place to look to is where you live and/or the state from which you receive your direction.

    If they were missing information, and realized they were, would it have been good customer service to contact you? Sure. Were they required to by law? No.

    My previous advice stands. Even a civil suit (small claims court) will not get you your money any faster, trust me.
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    You have not won the law suit lottery; in fact, you haven't even won the law suit scratch-off.
  5. #5
    mikeyzer0 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Patty! I'll go with that!
    You've been a great help!
    Mike
  6. #6
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    What do you mean by "wrong account"? Like they typed the wrong account number in and it went to the totally wrong person.... or you had an account and informed payroll the day before pay day that it was closed with a negative balance and now the bank won't return it. *

    *yes I have seen this happen.
  7. #7
    CourtClerk is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by swalsh411 View Post
    What do you mean by "wrong account"? Like they typed the wrong account number in and it went to the totally wrong person.... or you had an account and informed payroll the day before pay day that it was closed with a negative balance and now the bank won't return it. *

    *yes I have seen this happen.
    This is what the OP says happened:
    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyzer0 View Post
    they paid my wages into my ex's account,
    The better question is how did they get the ex's account information?
  8. #8
    pattytx is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by swalsh411 View Post
    What do you mean by "wrong account"? Like they typed the wrong account number in and it went to the totally wrong person.... or you had an account and informed payroll the day before pay day that it was closed with a negative balance and now the bank won't return it. *

    *yes I have seen this happen.
    Unless something has changed drastically recently, the ACH system through which U.S. direct deposits fare processed cannot automatically transfer funds to a non-U.S. account. Such funds have to be processed manually via international wire transfer. Wire transfers cannot be "called back" or "reversed" like deposits through the ACH can.
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    You have not won the law suit lottery; in fact, you haven't even won the law suit scratch-off.
  9. #9
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pattytx View Post
    Unless something has changed drastically recently, the ACH system through which U.S. direct deposits fare processed cannot automatically transfer funds to a non-U.S. account. Such funds have to be processed manually via international wire transfer. Wire transfers cannot be "called back" or "reversed" like deposits through the ACH can.
    OK... but either of those scenarios I mentioned could have happened with an international wire.

    More importantly, the OP needs to explain how his employer got his ex's account number when they had "no mandate or request to do so" and whether or not he promptly instructed them to stop the deposit into her account when the SO became an EX.
  10. #10
    mikeyzer0 is offline Junior Member
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    Hi, many thanks for adding your thoughts to this thread.

    OK, more detail:
    I have done work for this company previously, and at the time, the arrangement existed to pay money into my then-partner's account. This was fine.

    However, in March this year, I wrote to the company in question and gave them new account details requesting that all future monies be paid into this new account. I didn't have the IBAN and SWIFTBIC codes at the time, but indicated that I could forward them at a later date.

    Two weeks later I received an email from this company saying that they had made a note of my new account details. They didn't mention the IBAN and SWIFTBIC codes, and as I didn't re-read my original email, I forgot to send the additional data. They made no mention of it.

    I did the work in June and July, and when in mid-July I had received no wages, I contacted them. They said that because they had not received the IBAN and SWIFT codes, they paid the money into the old account.

    I contest that they should have done this without contacting me first. I could have provided the necessary information in a matter of minutes. But they made no attempt to contact me and went ahead ignoring the request to use the new account.

    I have since heard from them that they have been unable to retrieve the funds from my ex (I am no longer in contact with her, and she has since married), so it looks as though I will not be paid unless I can take some legal action against them, or some other means of persuasion. I have spoken to them many times, to the most senior person there I can, and they say there is nothing they can do for me.

    I'm planning to get a solicitor here in the UK to write to them, using the terms Duty of Care and Negligent along the lines I used them in my previous post, as has been suggested to me elsewhere.

    Many thanks for any other suggestions you can make.

    Mike
  11. #11
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Any recourse you may have is against your ex, not your employer. She has your money. They deposited funds into an account that you provided to them. To say that you never directed them to deposit your pay into that account is simply a lie.

    You admit you never provided them the information that you knew they needed. This may come as news to you but it is not the job of the payroll/HR department to babysit this.

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