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Microsoft Seeks Return Of Severance Overpayments

Microsoft is asking some of the 1,400 employees it laid off last month to return some of their severance payments due to an unspecified overpayment glitch.

Microsoft last month revealed plans to cut a further 3,600 jobs in research and development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, human resources and IT operations over the next 18 months to compensate for effects of the ever-worsening recession.

Over the weekend, TechCrunch published a letter from Microsoft's human resources department that was apparently sent out to a number of laid-off Microsoft employees on Feb. 18.

The letter cites "an inadvertent administrative error" as the cause for the overpayment, and asks ex-employees to send Microsoft a check or money order for the excess amount within 14 days. "We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you," reads the letter.

Microsoft HR didn't offer any explanation for the cause of the glitch, but considering the company's proud tradition of "eating its own dog food," there's a good possibility that Microsoft software was somehow involved.

Microsoft expects the layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to cut its annual operating expenses by $1.5 billion and capital expenditures for fiscal 2009 by $700 million.

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