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Published: Monday, 2/23/2009

Microsoft has to hit up laid-off workers for money

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SEATTLE A few weeks after launching the first wide-scale layoffs in its history, Microsoft Corp. admits it screwed up a key part of the plan.

The company is asking some laid-off employees for a portion of their severance back, saying an administrative glitch caused the software maker to pay them too much.

Lou Gellos, a Microsoft spokesman, would not say how many of the 1,400 workers let go in January were overpaid, or by how much. Microsoft has said severance would be calculated by length of service and position in the company.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker is asking former employees for reimbursement, by check or money order, within two weeks, according to a redacted letter posted by the technology blog TechCrunch. Gellos confirmed the letter's authenticity.

With the recession biting into sales of Microsoft's core Office and Windows software, Microsoft said in January it would let up to 5,000 of its 94,000 employees go, the only mass layoff in its 34-year history.

Shares of Microsoft sank 79 cents, or 4.4 percent, to close at $17.21 amid a broader sell-off Monday.



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