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Employer Claims that I was overpaid COLA

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I work in Hawaii, my company is based in Missouri. A cost of living allowance (COLA)is included as part of my salary. They claim that they made a mistake in calculating my COLA and overpaid me $14,000 in the past 20 months.

The agreement I signed has a paragraph that defines the amount of COLA. The paragraph is quoted below.

The agreement states, and I quote, "(Company (X)) will pay the employee a lump sum COLA bonus of 7% of his annual base salary. This will be computed and paid on a quarterly basis."

For the last 20 months, they have paid me 7% * (annual base salary)* 4 quarters. This is a yearly total of 28%.

They recently told me that they intended to pay only 7% per year and want to dock my COLA and pay to collect the $14,000 that they claim was the accumlated 21% over payment.

I have three questions:

1). What states laws apply?

2). What is the exact meaning of the COLA paragraph?

3). Can they legally start changing my pay without my approval?



1. Depends on each state's conflicts of law laws-- may say to look to each other or may point to just one state. Big question: where did you sign?

2. Vague - can be construed both ways. Have to look to whole contract "four corners" to see what it means.

3. If they already paid you...very hard to get it back from you.

http://www.attorneypages.com (find a labor lawyer)

I am a law school graduate. What I offer is mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney client relationship.


Thank You Lawrat

Lawrat, Thanks for the post.

I signed the agreement in Missouri.

They have already paid me. They have now threatened to try and collect the money as a lump sum. That will be a cold day in hell.

I am glad that you think the COLA statement is vague. I didn't think it was clear.

If I fight them I will most likely lose my job.

I am trying to find legal help. Even if I don't file, I want to know what my options are.

They have already stopped paying my COLA.

Another sunny day in paradise.

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