Honda has asked employees in Ohio that it needs to be refunded for overpaid bonuses that it made.
The car manufacturer recently informed workers that recent bonuses were overpaid. It has given employees until September 22 to decide if they would like to pay back the money upfront or have it deducted from future paychecks or future bonuses.
Speaking with NBC4, the wife of a Honda employee who was overpaid said that returning the money could prove difficult for some families.
“Not a lot of people can handle this kind of a hit,” she said. “I asked him that — I said, you know, ‘Was this… the highest check you’d ever gotten for a bonus check — that it seemed weird?’ And he said no, it wasn’t the highest he’d ever gotten.”
Her husband was informed that he owes back almost 8 percent of his bonus payment, or hundreds of dollars.
“That’s, you know, a car payment. That’s half of our mortgage,” she added. “That’s two, three weeks’ worth of groceries. That’s a lot of money for us.”
While it may not be a good look for a company with a $42 billion valuation to ask for employees to return overpaid bonuses, Ohio State University law professor Sarah Cole says Honda is well within its rights to ask for the money to be returned.
“Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which applies to all employers in the United States, it’s quite clear that overpayments of bonuses or wages can be recouped by the employer,” she said. “Honda could pursue this in court. But of course, that would be very expensive for them to do and obviously not look very positive from a publicity standpoint. So I’m sure they’re hoping to have voluntary agreement with the employees that the employee just willingly repays the overpayment.”