Honda criticized for asking hundreds of workers at an Ohio plant to return part of their bonuses

Auto giant Honda has come under fire after it asked workers at one of its US plants to pay off hundreds of dollars in bonuses they received earlier this month, saying it paid too many checks in error and now needs that extra cash.

The automaker’s shameless retraction came on Tuesday, when a memo was sent to employees at the Marysville Honda Motors Co. plant in Ohio — which employs thousands of workers — demanding that they return money from excess bonuses.

The amount of each overpayment is currently unclear, as it varies from person to person based on salary — but the bonuses in many cases run into the hundreds of dollars, and have been distributed to thousands of workers at the Ohio plant.

After announcing that bonuses were wrongly paid in the prospectus on Tuesday, the Japanese automaker’s copper maker wrote that workers will have only nine days to decide how to pay the extra.

Employees will have the option to deduct money from future paycheck or bonus checks, or pay the amount owed up front in cash or by check.

On Tuesday, the company said that those who abstain from these options, the surplus will be deducted from these options Future rewards are by default.

Workers will have until September 22 to decide how to pay the money – a hardship for many who are used to getting extra payments and didn’t expect a part of it to be paid back.

Since then, some employees at the plant – one of dozens of factories in the country that collectively produce more than 5 million cars a year – have questioned whether the company was justified in charging the overpayment, with a lawyer saying Honda was justified in Request forced refunds.

The automaker's backtracking came on Tuesday, when a memo was sent to employees at the Marysville Honda Motors Co. plant in central Ohio (pictured) asking them to return the money for excess bonuses.  The factory currently employs thousands of workers

The automaker’s backtracking came on Tuesday, when a memo was sent to employees at the Marysville Honda Motors Co. plant in central Ohio (pictured) asking them to return the money for excess bonuses. The factory currently employs thousands of workers

In a statement to DailyMail.com on Sunday, Copper at the popular auto retailer confirmed that they overpaid several employees last week, but did not specify how much and how many.

They added that managers are currently working to address the situation “to minimize any potential impact on our partners”.

“Earlier this month, Honda introduced bonus payments to its partners, some of whom were overpaid,” a Honda spokesperson admitted after being asked about the bonus payments.

“Issues related to compensation are a sensitive one,” the delegate wrote in an email, adding that “we are working quickly on this item to minimize any potential impact on our partners.”

The spokesperson added that since the matter concerns “employees”, the company will not provide any further information regarding this matter.

The wife of one employee who received an excess bonus of several hundred dollars told NBC4 that he owes Honda nearly 8 percent of the bonus he previously received.

The woman spoke on condition of anonymity, for fear of reprimanding her husband for speaking out.

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“Not many people can handle that kind of blow,” the wife of a Honda employee told the station, providing a copy of the note her husband received from his employer earlier in the week.

She added that when her husband initially came home with the bonus check earlier in the month, she asked him if the amount seemed right – which she told her, noting that he had received more big bonuses from the company in the past.

I asked him that. I said, you know, “Was this…the highest check you ever got for a bonus check?” [Did you think] Did it sound strange? And he said no, it wasn’t the highest level he’d ever gotten.

However, the note asserted that her husband owed ten percent of the total reward he received, which amounted to hundreds of dollars.

This is, you know, pushing a car. The worker’s wife told NBC4 in an interview on Friday, explaining the difficulty of paying the amount, which the family, like many others, had already taken over.

That’s the equivalent of two or three weeks of groceries. That’s a lot of money for us.

After the overpayment of bonuses was mistakenly announced in the prospectus on Tuesday, the Japanese automaker's copper maker wrote that workers will have only nine days to decide how to pay the extra payments.

After the overpayment of bonuses was mistakenly announced in the prospectus on Tuesday, the Japanese automaker’s copper maker wrote that workers will have only nine days to decide how to pay the extra payments.

According to one of the lawyers, Honda is legally entitled to request a refund of the excess wages, adding that there is no recourse for the hundreds of affected workers and their wages.

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“Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which applies to all employers in the United States, it is quite clear that overpayments from bonuses or wages can be recovered by the employer,” Sarah Cole, a law professor at Ohio State University, told NBC4.

Cole advised employees affected by the oversight to proceed with the required reimbursement, and to choose the most appropriate option for them.

“Honda can pursue this matter in court,” said the attorney who specializes in labor and employment law.

“But of course, that would be very costly for them and it obviously doesn’t look very positive from a publicity point of view.”

“So I’m sure they hope to come to a voluntary agreement with employees that the employee will willingly make the overpayment,” she added.

According to Cole, there is no penalty for wrongly paying employees, which protects the automaker’s copper even though it is a difficult situation for its non-union workers.

The company currently employs nearly 30,000 employees in the United States alone.

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