Naked customers put off postal workers

Posted at 12:22 AM, May 11, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-11 22:32:36-04

by Barbara Ciara

IVOR, Va. (WTKR) – Two letter carriers are taking action against what they call a hostile working environment. They say they are forced to deliver packages to unclothed customers.

It`s a culture clash between those who enjoy being naked and workers who don`t want to see their nakedness.

Letter carriers are a devoted bunch. They live by the pledge “neither rain, snow, nor gloom of night would deter it`s couriers from their appointed rounds.”

Darden Gillette says he is willing to deal with nature’s weather, but not unclothed customers who greet him up-close and butt naked.

The ‘in your face’ nudity happens at White Tail Resort—a family nudist community in Ivor, Virginia.

“Everybody thinks funky things are going on inside, this is a family resort, says Cathy Roettjer, a 10 year White Tail resident.

Roettjer has enjoyed the nudist community for the last ten years.

“Why people think it’s a bad thing because people take their clothes off it’s crazy,” says Roettjer.

Letter carriers Darden Gillette and Yoder Starr think it’s crazy talk to expect them to encounter nudity while on the job.  The federal workers are fed up and went to a law office to file a complaint to make it stop.

“We are alleging this has created a hostile working environment for them—working conditions no one should be subjected to,” says Attorney Neil Bonney who represents the workers.

“I’ve been married 38 years this year and until I went into that park, I had never seen another man nude except for my husband,” says Star.

The letter carriers say it is unbearable to see nude people frolicking in the park on their appointed rounds.

While they respect the nudists and their right to be naked, they say it’s against their own personal convictions and the exposure to it is affecting their health and well-being.

Formal documents have been filed on behalf of letter carriers with the EEOC, Susan Lyle is the post mistress named in the complaint. We traveled to the main post office in the little town of Ivor to ask her about it.

She directed us to the district communications director for the United States Postal Service and while they declined to comment specifically about the complaint, they issued a statement regarding the policy:

It reads in part: “We safeguard the health and safety of our employees. We would not ask them to do anything that would harm them or jeopardize their health.”

“I told the postmaster I could have lived my entire life and not seen what I saw that day, and it didn’t seem to faze her. She laughed and she thought it was funny,” says Star.

The owner of the nudist community declined to be interviewed, but other residents don’t appreciate being the subject of the complaint.

Some of the nudists say their lifestyle is being put on trial when they are nude and proud and just minding their own business on private property.

“But there is an old saying Dad used to say “your rights stop at the end of my nose,’” says Gillette.

In an effort to get some distance, the letter carriers have been permitted to stop going inside of the community to deliver mail and now they deliver to the row of boxes outside of the gate.

They are not going in, but now complain they drive up the long road to the gate and find the nudists are coming out.

“We’re still encountering nudity,” says Star.

“It’s very distracting to have that playing in your head all day,” says Gillette.

Attorney Neil Bonney says they’re in the middle of the formal process of this complaint, but hopes the post office will take action now to resolve it.

But the owner of White Tail Park says that`s not the whole story. He says there are other factors in this case, and he firmly denies that any of his residents go nude outside of the community gates.

He feels his resort has been thrown under the bus in this complaint, and he plans to bare it all and tell his side.