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Employment Law/Temp agency claiming I owe them $2000


I have been working through a temp agency for a major French bank in NJ. I believe the temporary agency is located in NY (all my dealings with them have been via email or phone). I began at the bank at the end of August as an administrative assistant for a back office operations team. The bank loves me, they want to keep me. They’ve extended my contract with them which was supposed to end to October, till December and now till June (with a major promise to hire me fulltime then).
My temporary agency just called me today and apologizing, that somehow they made a mistake, rather ADP apparently, made a “common” mistake; just noticed that they’ve been over paying me. My hourly wage is supposed to be $18.50. Apparently, (although nothing has been shown in writing) they’ve been paying me the billable rate the temp agency should have been receiving which is ($25.00 per hour.) With all my calculations including tax, I have found that to be impossible. If anything I have been over paid two to three extra dollars an hour not $7. Regardless, the agency is now saying I owe them $2000.00 and I can pay them in six months gradually (they will deduct a certain amount from my pay check biweekly). I am completely distraught. I make so little as is for the work I do. I live 2 and half hours away from NJ, my daily commute costing me over $400.00 a month and 5 hours daily. I was told by the agency if I quit the job, as in break my contract, the agency will have to take the $2000 as a personal loss.
I am so angry that I am suppose to pay for their mistake. Why can’t the agency pay for their mistake?! $2000 is a lot of money.  Am I liable? Do I really have to pay? More importantly are they allowed to take money out of my future paychecks to compensate for this mistake? What are my rights?
I know I can quit and go through another agency that will allow me to work at my current job, but it is so complicated. I do not know what to do.
-Temporarily, helpess.

I would talk to the company you are working for and see if they can hire you early. Explain the problems and maybe they will be willing to help you out.

If not it is going to be more complicated to stay with the agency than it will be to quit and go through another temp agency.


If the temp agency can provide records that prove they have overpaid you they can collect it from any future wages they pay to you.


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions about payroll laws and payroll tax laws and Human Resource laws and agencies. I can answer federal payroll and human resource law questions and most states; I do not have a knowledge of the local taxes for cities and counties within the state. If and when I can I will try and send you the website where you can reference the answer and where you can obtain more information as well as a contact number if needed for that particular agency. Some agencies I have worked with are IRS, Department of Labor (federal and state), Revenue Canada (and provincial governments), Inland Revenue, OSHA (0ccupational Safety and Health Administration); Social Security Administration and National Child Support as well as other agencies in Payroll and Human Resources. Some Laws I am particularly familiar with are FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act ) , QDRO's, QMCSO's, and other support orders and garnishments, USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Remployment Rights Act,PPA Act (Pension Protection Act of 2006, As well as most other employment type acts. I am also well versed in the Title V Civil Rights Act and the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).


30 years in Payroll and Human Resources

SHRM (Society of Human Resources) APA (American Payroll Association) DOLEA (Department of Labor Employers Association) CPA (Canadian Payroll Association) NAPW (National Association of Professional Women) The Mentoring Network

PHR Certification in Human Resources CPP Certification in Payroll in U.S. Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification in Canada

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