HR Strange But True!
October 01, 2004

We all know that HR is never dull, but sometimes it can get downright strange...

Edward Woodland Jr. didn't land that temporary job he'd been seeking at the nuclear power plant in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. But thanks to a paperwork mistake, he received $2,194 in wages anyway.

He also refused to pay that money back when officials at PPL, the electric utility that operates the plant, realized what had happened. As a result, Woodland has been convicted of theft.

Woodland maintained at his trial that he did work at the plant for a period in 2003. But PPL said that amounted to only three days of screening and testing for a position as a temporary cleanup worker. When he failed to pass a background investigation, he was told he could not be employed, according to PPL..

But someone forgot to process a form for removing unsuccessful applicants from the payroll. That led to the utility mailing out checks of between $580 to $606 in net pay to Woodland.

When they realized their mistake, PPL officials sent Woodland a registered letter asking him to return the money. Prosecutors at his trial said he acknowledged getting the letter but didn't respond, even when threatened with arrest.

Woodland justified his non-response this way for a jury: "Why should I pay it back? I earned it."

The jury disagreed, and now he awaits sentencing.

Source: Associated Press, via

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