jokerAfter filing a lawsuit in April accusing her employers of withholding pay, Rosemarie Peltier, a nine-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service, has been charged with stealing more than $29,000 from the agency since she was forced to take her leave.

The former postal worker was actually placed on leave without pay in June 2002, a year and a half after she was involved in a fatal car accident on the way home from work and charged with negligent homicide. Four years later, however, she was acquitted of the charge on the grounds that the lighting the night of the accident had been poor and that the pedestrian she struck had been drinking and was crossing the street illegally.

Since then, Peltier has been attempting to be reimbursed for those four years of leave. However, a new issue has emerged after the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged her with embezzlement of government property, misappropriation of postal funds and false reports and entries of securities and monies — offenses that could earn her up to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors claim she deliberately failed to send off nearly $30,000 worth of money order payments her customers had given her.

Common forms of retaliation in the workplace

Issues of retaliation are relatively common in the workplace, on both sides of the employment scale. Managers, supervisors and even employment agencies may deny promotions, unduly fire or even harass employees who have earned their contempt by engaging in protected conduct like whistle-blowing or filing requests for accommodations that are reasonable, but perhaps inconvenient.

A so-called “hostile work environment” may also be created in a more subtle way, in the form of negative employee reviews, difficult working conditions and rude behavior or snubbing. Employees may claim that employers refused to provide job references for future jobs, even if they were earned.

However, vandalism and theft are the most common forms of retaliation from employees. A typical scenario involves workers who may feel that they have been unfairly treated or not paid enough, and as a result they may steal from or cause damage to a work environment. Theft is especially prevalent, as it is a convenient way to retaliate without becoming violent or confrontational.

If your company is dealing with employee retaliation issues, it’s important to consult a knowledgeable attorney in the U.S. Virgin Islands to address the problem before it becomes bigger and more costly.

BoltNagi is a widely respected and established employment and labor law firm serving businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.