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25 Jan 2017 
WASHINGTON -- Since demand for temporary workers has been on the rise since the recession, staffing agencies have played an increasingly important role in helping jobless Americans find work. Some worker advocates say job-seekers should be wary.

The number of temporary workers in the United States on any given day jumped to an average of 2.6 million in the third quarter of 2010, about 25 percent higher than the same period a year earlier, according to the American Staffing Association, the trade group representing such firms. The Department of Labor reported last week that staffing firms have added about 25,000 jobs to the economy in each of the past 12 months.

In an uncertain economy, employers are more likely to hire temporary and contract workers because it's easier to let those workers go when they can no longer afford them. But George Wentworth, a senior staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project, a worker-advocacy nonprofit, said job applicants should be careful when using staffing firms and temp agencies.

"A huge portion of the job growth in the last year has been in the temporary help sector, because employers are using the temporary industry as a device for trying out workers," Wentworth said. "The bottom line is that you have to be really careful with these kinds of firms. There's a growing detachment between job applicants and the ultimate employer that will be hiring you, so when there are headhunters or firms that are acting as an intermediary and taking some sort of cut, workers just need to be absolutely certain they're getting assurance from an employer and not just an entity that isn't going to have a long-term investment in the workers future."

Wentworth said staffing firms that promise full-time work after a certain period can often stretch those terms without recourse, as their unemployed clients are too desperate for work to speak up.

"There are abuses in many of these industries where employers try to keep somebody on a, quote, 'temporary' for periods of time far longer than you'd expect for a temp job, but in this economy, workers are less likely to complain," he said. "And the temp agencies are pretty much unregulated, so workers are on their own having to bring contract action."

One Colorado man, however, is not only speaking up but is suing Aerotek, a major international employment firm. Robert Koehler, 46, alleges that the company interviewed him for and later offered him a full-time position, told him to immediately quit his current temporary job and then failed to deliver the position he was promised.

Koehler said he has been working temporary manufacturing jobs on and off since he was laid off in June 2008. In July 2010, he responded to a Craigslist ad for a temp-to-hire job as a pharmaceutical production technician that would have paid him more than twice what he was currently making.

"I thought, maybe this is it, maybe I finally found a job after applying constantly everywhere, I won't have to get by on $10 an hour with no benefits anymore," he told HuffPost.

Koehler said a recruiter for Aerotek called him immediately and sent him out to interview with the client, a pharmaceutical company in Broomfield, Colo., after which he was almost immediately offered the job.

"Aerotek called me the same day and said I was hired and directory that they wanted me to start as soon as possible," he said. "I had to come in the very next day and do all the paperwork, give blood, do a physical drug test, a seven-year criminal background check. They said it was a sure thing."

According to Koehler, an Aerotek recruiter then told him he needed to quit his current job by July 23 so he could start his new position the following Monday. But immediately after putting in his two weeks' notice, Koehler says, the Aerotek recruitment agent entirely stopped responding to him about the position. He says his start date came and went, and it wasn't until read the full info here about a week later that an Aerotek recruiter finally called him back and told him that there was no longer a job for him.

Unfortunately, by quitting his temporary job, Koehler lost his eligibility for unemployment benefits. He said he has not been able to land a job since, despite constantly applying, and his $105-a-week emergency benefits ran out this week.

"I'm so far behind, it's horrible," he said. "They've destroyed my life. I can't pay my bills, I can't do anything now. I maxed out our credit cards, used up our savings, borrowed money from one of my sisters, donate plasma twice a week for money and am using the remainder of our federal tax return to survive."

Aerotek said in a statement that it didn't do anything wrong in Koehler's case.

"Our policy is that at no time do we offer a position until the screening and/or testing process is complete. While we understand that Mr. Koehler has some issues regarding his interaction with our Denver, Colorado, office, we are comfortable that we handled the situation properly," an Aerotek spokesperson said.

Koehler isn't alone, however. Job-seekers have logged a plethora of complaints about Aerotek on websites such as www.pissedconsumer.com, a review site for products and services. One man claims Aerotek hired him, allowed him to work in a position for four months and then fired him without explanation a day before he would have been eligible for unemployment benefits.

"Thanks Aerotek, hope that little bit of money you're getting is worth taking the food off my kids' plates!" he wrote.

Richard Wahlquist, president and CEO of the American Staffing Association, told HuffPost

he is skeptical of these kinds of complaints because it is in the staffing firm's financial interest to place all of its clients.

"Staffing firms only are able to get income from their clients if they make placements, so they have a powerful incentive to put everybody to work," he said. "Of course, if you've got 10 million people coming through your doors every year, there's are gonna be some with grievances, but Allegis [Aerotek's parent company] is actually the largest staffing firm in America. They provide employment across a lot of different sectors, they've got a really strong track record, and they're proud of what they do."




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06 Jan 2017 
In early 1993, Getting Down to Cases described a case where a mistake which was made in a foreclosure sale was later rectified by the court. The discussion of that case, Crossland Mortgage Corp. v. Frankel, reported in the New York Law Journal on October 1, 1992, dealt with an error which occurred at the foreclosure sale resulting from the bank's representative failing to make a bid in accordance to his instructions.

What happened was that Mr. Buchman, who was simply an observer at the foreclosure sale, realized that when the bank's representative made a bid of only $34,000 where the mortgage being foreclosed was approximately $200,000, he immediately made a higher bid of $55,000. The bank's representative, who actually received instructions to start his bidding at $160,000, made a mistake by bidding the much lower amount and not raising his bid.

Since Mr. Buchman was unprepared to make a bid, he asked the referee for time to go to his bank to secure a certified check for the downpayment deposit. The referee granted him that time. In the interim the bank's representative checked with his office and realized that he had made a mistake with his bidding and advised the referee to that effect. He requested that the referee re-open the sale, which the referee agreed to do. The property was then struck down to the bank at its $160,000 bid.

When Mr. Buchman sought to have the court declare him to be the successful bidder, the court ultimately ruled that he was not entitled to the property. The court stated that although the sale at foreclosure will not ordinarily be disturbed where it was fairly made and free from fraud, a judicial sale may be set aside when someone obtained an undue advantage or where a party was unfairly dealt with. The court also noted that a judicial foreclosure sale may also be set aside if there was an excusable mistake, particularly if such mistake caused the property to bring a much lower price that it otherwise would have. While a mistake by itself would not be grounds to set aside a foreclosure sale, if the mistake caused an inadequacy of price, a foreclosure sale might be set aside.

In the Crossland case, the court ruled that the price of $55,000 was "inadequate" compared property and homes for sale to the value of the property, which was conceded by all parties to be $200,000. This price inadequacy, coupled with the mistake that was made by the lender's representative, was the basis for the court's denying the property to Buchman.

The issue of dealing with a mistake in a foreclosure sale is revisited by Charles F. Curry Co. v. Yodah Group Inc., (September 14, 1994), involving property in Rochester, NY. A judgment of foreclosure and sale was entered in the amount of $34,000. A referee was appointed by the court to sell the property. The foreclosure sale took place on February 25, 1994.

At the sale, the referee opened the bidding and Charles F. Curry Co. bid $100. There were no other bids and the property was struck down for that amount. However, the referee expressed reservations about the absence of the lender at the sale and requested that the bidder wait until the referee contacted the lender. The referee was advised by the lender's attorneys that the defaulted loan had been reinstated and that the foreclosure sale had been canceled. A message to that effect was left at the referee's office.



The referee then determined that because his authority to complete the foreclosure sale was in question, he refused to accept the bidder's deposit and declined to execute a memorandum of sale. The bidder stated that he regarded the sale as valid and complete. A lawsuit was then started by the mortgagee to declare the foreclosure sale to be invalid.

Justice Thomas A. Stander, of the Supreme Court of Monroe County, first considered the question as to whether or not the foreclosure sale was valid. He stated that while the sale was properly scheduled in accordance with a judgment of foreclosure and sale, with proper publication by the referee, and with proper procedure at the sale, a referee has certain flexibility to meet unforseen circumstances that might otherwise jeopardize the success of a foreclosure sale. A "sale" of the property does not occur until the officer conducting the sale executes a referee's deed to the purchaser.

Under the circumstances involved in this case, Justice Stander ruled that a valid foreclosure sale did not take place.

The court then examined whether the foreclosure sale, if it had been determined to be valid, should be vacated and set aside anyway, on other grounds.



The court noted that if, in addition to a mere disparity in price, there is a lack of equity or fairness, such as fraud or exploitation or overreaching, a court may grant relief.

Mere inadequacy of price does not provide sufficient grounds for vacating a foreclosure sale. Only where the price is so low as to shock the conscience of the court will the sale be vacated. In New York State, foreclosure sales at prices below 10 percent of the value of the property have consistently been held to be unconscionably low.

Justice Stander then reviewed the question as to whether the foreclosure sale price of $100 is so low as to shock the conscience of the court. The judgment of foreclosure was for $34,000.

Evidence was submitted however of fire damage to the property prior to the sale and that the property was in the process of renovation.

Since there was no proof submitted as to the precise value of the property on the date of the foreclosure sale, it could not be conclusively determined that the bid of $100 was less than 10 percent of the value of the property. However, based upon other evidence before the court, Justice Stander concluded that there was an enormous disparity between the bid amount and short sale vs foreclosure the value of the property.

In this case, because the property was sold for a shockingly inadequate price, coupled with the mistake made by the referee and the mortgagee as to the cancellation of the sale, equity and fairness demands that the foreclosure sale be vacated and set aside.

Thus, the judge ruled that no valid foreclosure sale took place, since the referee's deed was not executed, nor did the referee accept the deposit from the bidder. The court further ruled that even if a valid foreclosure sale did take place, it would have been set aside because there was a shocking disparity between the price and the property's value, coupled with an honest mistake made by the referee, as well as the mortgagee, in holding the sale in the first place.

While the court has inherent equitable power over a judicial foreclosure sale, that power is exercised sparingly and with great caution. However, a court may set aside its own judicial sale in order to relieve an oppressive or unfair result.

(Edward L. Schiff is senior partner in the law firm of Schiff, Turek, Kirschenbaum, O'Connell, LLP of New York City.)
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05 Jan 2017 
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03 Jan 2017 
Stripped all tiles off shower wall to dry off wet wallsCredit: Titans Photography

Twelve months ago we noticed the walls in our hallway had started to bubble the paint.It was just a little odd bit at first. We checked the taps in our shower and could not see a leak. So we thought about the tiles and wondered if the grout could be leaking. After seeking expert advice we were told it was more than likely to be a grout leak.

So we stripped all the paint off the wall on the other side of the  shower in our hallway and around the corner in the laundry areas. Left it to dry out for a couple of weeks, as there was no wet or signs of moisture we then sealed the walls and repainted them. Everything looked fine. So we went touring around Australia for thirteen months, leaving our son and his girlfriend to look after the house.



American Standard 7225.733.002 Hampton 3-Handle Tub and Shower Set, Polished Chrome

Amazon Price: $401.00

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These would look great in any shower plus you can also buy the Hampton toilet or bidet faucets to match.



What causes these problems?

Tiles are waterproof although we cannot say the same about the grout. They may have used a cheaper form of grout or it may not have been applied correctly. It could start with a tiny gap which is enough to let the moisture through. If this occurs it will spread as the gap becomes larger.

There could also be a leak between the tiles and the shower screens, especially in the corners, if there is movement. Grout does not tolerate any movement at all and will crack.

A good sign of moisture is if black spots start to appear on the silicone sealant around the shower screen. If the screen moves the moisture can get behind have a peek here the seal.



American Standard 7225.733.002 Hampton 3-Handle Tub and Shower Set, Polished Chrome

Amazon Price: $401.00

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(price as of Oct 16, 2016)

This unit looks smart, with Chrome and tempered glass. It has 3 bar towel racks with bottom shelf and the rails are acrylic so they cannot rust and this is very easy to assemble.

Recoat with concrete

We returned home after our trip

When we got back the walls had grown with the damp again. This time it was worse than before. We had plumbers and insurance assessors out and they said it was not covered with insurance because it must be a grout leak not a water leak.The plumbers tested the walls and said there were no leaks.

To be honest we were still not convinced. As we wanted to sell this house and move into a smaller one and go travelling again we needed to be certain that every angle was covered.This time, my husband pulled all the tiles off the shower wall and the floor.Everything was saturated. The damp was halfway up the walls on both sides of the shower recess.

And can you believe it, there was no membrane behind the tiles. Evidently about ten to fifteen years ago, the tilers did not do this as it was a shortcut taken by a lot of tilers in those days to reduce installation, labor time and costs.

Now that we had removed all the tiles we had tofind a tiler to retile the shower. As soon as he saw it he knew the problem as a lot of houses were done that way. He gave us a quote and then the fun started trying to find tiles similar to the existing ones. No hope there at all.They had completely changed the sizes of floor and the wall tiles, and they did not even have the same shade or colors.

As it is just for the shower only we chose the same for floor and walls. The tiler  came back and sealed the brickwork, then returned twice and coated the walls with a concrete like substance to seal the walls. The next trip he applied two coats basics of the membrane.

We spent time cleaning the old tiles that didn't break to put around the hand basin which never had any to protect the back wall.

The tiler returned, and grouted .This process from the first phone call to the insurance company has now taken since the 20th of October 2009 and was finished in the New year.

We had  really been hanging out to have a next page shower. No we don't smell, we had to content ourselves with a bath each day.Thankd god we had a bath in our bathroom.

Recoat with two coats of sealer

I must add that, that was only getting the shower finished.We still had to finish rendering the hall and laundry walls, seal them and paint. We had to wait this long to make sure the walls were completely dry

Yes we didn't even worry about finishing that mess until after Christmas. Hope you all had a great one.

They told us to completely seal the tiles with a shower sealer. We bought a container of Crommelin's Waterproofing. It says on the bottle permanent water based penetrating sealer to fix leaking showers. We gave the whole shower two coats, just to make sure it was sealed.



We did finally fix that shower and eventually sold it and bought another one.  Can you believe it - We had to do the same thing again in this house as there was a leak behind the taps.

Although this time it was the actual pipe that had a leak.  We still fixed it ourselves as by now we were pretty much experts at it.



6pc Solid Burgundy Combed Bath Towel Set 100% Egyptian Cotton by sheetsnthings

Amazon Price: $129.99 $39.99

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(price as of Oct 16, 2016)

These not only look and feel beautiful they would enhance any bathroom. They are also absorbent and a great size to cover you.
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