I worked for a large corporation in Texas, USA. I put in my two week notice and it just so happened that my last day fell on Good Friday. So, I was forced to turn all my equipment in on Thursday since no one would be there on Friday. I received my normal salary pay check. A few weeks later I got a letter stating that I was overpaid and would need to send a check equivalent to one day's pay back to them. At first I blew them off thinking it was ridiculous, but then I received a second letter where they stated they would turn me over to collections if they did not receive full payment in two weeks. I was just wondering if they have any grounds here. Or what US/Texas law says, if anything, about situations like this.
This question seems better suited for Law.SE, and I am not a lawyer, but here is my understanding of the situation.
Yes, they have the right to do this. Texas is an "at-will" employment state, which basically means that, unless you have a specific contract in place or there is a company-wide policy in writing that states otherwise, you can be terminated at any time with or without cause.
If they terminate you without cause, you can request/appeal for Unemployment benefits. This would apply if you are considered to have been "discharged" (terminated without cause). Your case, however, is addressed specifically on the website of the Texas Workforce Commission:
If the employee gives notice of intent to resign by a definite date two weeks or less in the future and you accept the notice early at your convenience, it will be regarded as a resignation, not a discharge.
Again, if there is a company-wide policy in writing regarding how two-week notices and/or holiday pay are handled for resigning employees, you may have a leg to stand on in a UI claim for this single day's pay (assuming things get that far). Otherwise, they have every right to come after you for the extra amount.
Did you work the day in question? No. So you are not entitled to pay.
They are in the right. However, if you do send them the check back it is likely your W-2 will reflect that you were paid for Good Friday. Most payroll software makes it very hard to undo a paycheck.
If it was me, I would ask for an amended paycheck for this reason. "Yes, you are correct I did not work that day so I do not deserve to be paid. However, I would need a amended pay stub reflecting that I did not receive income for that day, then I would be happy to pay back any extra monies I received."
Something like that will probably end it right there.
If they do send it to collections, expect the collection agent to lie and cheat. They will promise you things with no intention of delivery. Do not send them any money until you have all the things you desire up front.
You could also ignore it. A friend of mine received a signing bonus with a one year minimum employment condition. He left 5 months later. Same kind of letter and the collections agent portrayed himself as a lawyer, and promised him he won all kinds of similar cases in court, yada, yada, yada. Five years later, he is still waiting for the court notice. Nothing came of it, despite being about $5k. I doubt they will come after you for one day's pay.