Microsoft says it made an accounting error when it laid off some employees last month and now feels the best way to correct the error is with what seems likely to add up to a public-relations blunder.
The software giant, which recently laid off 1,400 employees, sent letters last week to some of those former workers letting them know that their severance payouts were a bit too "generous" and respectfully requested that the former employees pay back that money.
"An inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft," the letter states. "We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience to you."
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter posted by TechCrunch but declined further comment, saying it was "a private matter between the company and the affected people".
The company declined to specify how many of these letters were sent out, and it is unknown how much the overpayments total, but it did indicate that some laid off employees were also undercompensated.
The letter did not provide an explanation for the accounting error.