Question:

I switched schools between school years and my new school offered to pay me a certain salary for the year. They were claiming to be expanding the school and needed another teacher for another girls class. Practically, my class had 3 students and eventually one of the girls left the school. At that point they fired me without any notice. Moreover, they had not paid me over the course of the year and owed me more than $10,000 at that point, which they admitted.
The reason they did not pay me and fired me was because they intended to pay me as a paraprofessional, forcing me to bill the government for a service that I was not providing. They wanted me to bill as the para for a 3rd grade boy when, practically speaking, I was teaching pre1a girls. Moreover, they wanted me to bill for 60 hours a week when I was only working 33 hours. When I refused, they agreed to pay me properly, but when it all came down to it they paid less than half of what they owed. They still owe me $5,700 and they have admitted it. I have it in writing and I have my original contract. They fired me when I was 7 months pregnant, after Chanukah when I could no longer find another job, and nobody wants to hire someone that they know is going to need maternity leave so soon. So I was not paid for my work, not given severance pay and also forced into a position where I couldn’t find work until well after my baby was born. Every time I confronted my employer she said she would pay but never did.

Recently, this cheder moved into a new space (after getting evicted from their previous space for illegal renovations) which happens to be in a beis medrash that my husband davens in. They leave their seforim and possessions in the BM. Can my husband take their seforim and sell them to repay the chov? Can take the ones that he would use and deduct it from the chov? I am concerned that they are just avoiding payment at this point and are hoping that they will just avoid it long enough that we will be moichel, but I am not. (Important note: due to politics in the beis din where we live we were unable to agree upon a din torah. They refused to go to a legitimate beis din and my husband cannot afford the 300 hazmono and 1000 fee to call them to a proper din torah, so we are considering this course of action). Is it legitimate? They have admitted the chov and I have it in writing. They have stated that they will pay it but I have not received a cent since the summer of 2017.

Answer:

 

In principle it can be done. The  problem is valuation because if you are going to sell used seforim you will not get anything near what they should be valued at. Beis din normally values used items at the price of the item brand new minus the amount the owner would pay to exchange the used item for the same item new. This will probably be far more than what you will get when selling them. Therefore their debt will be reduced by the valuation and in practice you will recover much less. Maybe just take the ones he will use.

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