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

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by  subscribing to our newsletter.

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

More by Corey Lewis

Join the conversation
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
    • 95_SC 95_SC 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.

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.