Honda Pays Ohio Employees a Bonus, Promptly Asks for Part of Its Money Back in Cash

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
honda pays ohio employees a bonus promptly asks for part of its money back in cash

It’s not too common for an employer to ask for a cash repayment from its employees, but that’s exactly what happened late last week near Columbus, Ohio. The sudden chargeback has resulted in angry Honda employees who are balking at their employer’s request.

The employees in question work at Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant, which is located about 45 minutes from downtown Columbus. The plant is a very important facility to Honda and a major employer in the central Ohio area. The current employee count at the Marysville plant is 4,200, and the factory builds the Accord (since 1982), the Acura TLX, the CR-V, and the new Integra. All examples of the NSX are built at the site too, but next door at the Performance Manufacturing Center.

Early in September, Honda gave out bonuses included in its regular paychecks. In an apparent payroll oversight, some of the employees who received bonuses got too much money. Per a Honda statement to NBC4 of Columbus, the company noticed the error once the money went out the door, and would like to make the return process as painless as possible. 

“Earlier this month Honda provided bonus payments to its associates, some of whom received overpayments. Issues related to compensation are a sensitive matter and we are working quickly on this item to minimize any potential impact to our associates. Since this is a personnel issue, we have no further information to provide related to this matter.”

It seems the bonus amounts were added to paychecks without much detail. One employee’s spouse noticed the bonus check was a rather large amount, but the employee said it wasn’t the largest bonus he’d ever received. The employee received a memo at work a few days later.

Honda wants nearly 8 percent of the bonus back, a figure totaling several hundred dollars. The employee gave the payment details and memo to NBC on the condition of anonymity. According to lawyers, this sort of situation is cut and dry and the law is on the employer’s side. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act that governs all employers in the U.S. says that overpayments of any bonus or wage can be recovered by the employer. There’s not much the recipients of overpayments can do, and the law does not recognize Finder’s Keepers.

For Honda’s part, they’re requiring a quick payback decision from employees but are also providing options. Notice memos sent out on Tuesday, September 13th allowed until September 22nd for a payment decision. The overpaid bonuses can be paid back up front, or deducted from future paychecks or future bonuses. If an employee does not answer by September 22nd, then the deduction will be made from future bonuses by default. 

And while it’s most certainly bad regional PR for Honda, the company is acting legally and providing options to soften the blow to cash flow. In the end, everyone is being returned to their rightful monetary positions; nothing gained, nothing lost. Technically.

[Image: Honda]

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5 of 17 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Sep 20, 2022

    I bet people complaing want their money back if they get overcharged for something though. People mess up and people know good and well what they were supposed to get. You'd always have these clowns in the Army getting paid housing while living in the Barracks or something that cry when the Army wanted it back. You know good and well that money was a mistake. If you spent it you are an idiot.

    • See 1 previous
    • Art  Vandelay Art Vandelay on Sep 20, 2022

      Yeah. It happens. Sometimes.its a.funeral, sometimes it's at the finance office. You know about old farts go to one or 2 a week.

  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Sep 20, 2022

    I was overpaid by my employer for several years due to a misunderstanding of travel and car allowances. The company contacted me, told me about the mistake, said they would not require repayment but would be correcting the payments going forward. I was a bit surprised but happy I wasn't going to have to go back months at a couple hundred a month. Since the Honda mistake was caught quickly, seems fair that the company has required the money be returned but provided options for how to do so.

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 21, 2022

      Agree but this is still a public relations nightmare for Honda. Better to exercise more care when giving out bonuses.

  • Dukeisduke I subscribed to both Road & Track and Car and Driver for over 25 years, but it's been close to 20 years since I dropped both. I tried their digital versions with their reader software (can't remember the name now), but it wasn't the same. I let it lapse after a year.From what I've seen of R&T's print version, it's turned into more of a lifestyle thing like The Robb Report. I haven't seen an issue of C/D in a while.I enjoyed both magazines a lot when I was subscribing. R&T for the road tests (especially the April Fools road tests), used car reviews, historical articles, and columns like Peter Egan's Side Glances and Dennis Simanitis's Technical Correspondence. And C/D for the road tests and pithy commentary, and columns like Gordon Baxter's, and Jean Shepherd's (that goes way back to the early '70s).
  • Steve Biro It takes very clever or amusing content for me to sit through a video vehicle review. And most do not include that.Tim, you wrote :"Niche titles aren't dying because of a lack of interest from enthusiasts, but because of broader changes in the economics of media, at least in this author's opinion."You're right about the broader changes in economics. But the truth is that there IS a lack of interest from enthusiasts. Part of it is demographics. Young people coming up are generally not car and truck fans. That doesn't mean there are no young enthusiasts but the numbers are much smaller. And even those who consider themselves enthusiasts seem to have mixed feelings. Just take a look at Jalopnik.And then we come to the real problem: The vast majority of new vehicles coming out today are not interesting to enthusiasts, are not fun to drive and/or are just not affordable.You can argue that EVs are technically interesting and should create enthusiasm. But the truth is they are not fun to drive, don't work well enough yet for most people and are very expensive.EVs on the race track? Have you ever been to a Formula E race? Please.And even if we set EVs aside, the electronic nannies that are being forced on us pretty much preclude a satisfying driving experience in any brand-new vehicle, regardless of propulsion system. Sure, many consumers who view cars as transportation appliances may welcome this technology. But they are not enthusiasts. I don't know about you, but I and most car fans I know don't want smart phones on wheels.There is simply not that much of interest to write about. Car and Driver and Road & Track are dipping deeper into nostalgia and their archives as a result. R&T is big on sponsoring road trips for enthusiasts - which is a great idea. But only people with money to burn need apply.And then there is the problem of quality in automotive writing. As more experienced people are let go and more money is cut from publications, the quality and length of pieces keeps going down, leading to the inevitable self-fulfilling prophecy.Even the output on this site is sharply reduced from its peak. And the number of responses to posts seems a small fraction of what it used to be. This is my first comment since the site was recently relaunched. I don't expect to be making many in the future.Frankly Tim - and it gives me no pleasure to write this - but your post makes me feel as though the people running this site have run out of ideas and TTAC's days may be numbered.Cutbacks in automotive journalism are upsetting. But, until there is something exciting and fun to write about, they are going to continue. Perhaps automotive enthusiasm really was a 20th century phenomenon..
  • THX1136 I think that the good ole interwebs is at least partially to blame. When folks can get content for free, what is the motivation to pay to read? I'm guilty of this big time. Gotta pay to read!? Forget it! I'll go somewhere else or do without. And since a majority of folks have that portable PC disguised as a phone in their pocket, no need for print. The amount of info easily available is the other factor the web brings to bear. It's perhaps harder now to stand out. Standing out is necessary to continued success.In an industry I've been interested (and participated) in, the one magazine (Mix) I subscribed to has become a shadow of it's former self (200 pgs now down to 75). I like print for the reasons mentioned by another earlier. I can 'access' it in a non-linear fashion and it's easily portable for me. (Don't own a smarty pants phone and don't plan to at the moment.)I would agree with others: useful comparison reviews, unique content not easily available other places, occasional ringers (Baruth, Sajeev, et al) - it would be attractive to me anyway. I enjoy Corey, Matt and Murilee and hope they continue to contribute here.
  • Daniel J I wish auto journos would do more comparisons. They do some but many are just from notes from a previous review compared to a new review. I see where journos go out to a location and test drive and review a vehicle on location but that does absolutely nothing for me without any comparison to similar cars. I also wish more journos spent more time on seat comfort. I guess that doesn't matter much when many journos seem to be smaller folks where comfort isn't as important. Ergonomics are usually just glossed over unless there is something very specific about the ergonomics that tick the journo off. I honestly get more from most youtube reviews than I ever do about reviews written on a page.
  • Namesakeone It's not just automotive. All print media is treading water. Time Magazine has gone from weekly to biweekly. Playboy no longer exists as a print magazine. There are lots of other examples. How to fix it? Let me be (among) the first to say that I have no idea.