MARSHFIELD, Mo. Six sexual harassment lawsuits filed this week accuse an Ozarks dentist of mistreating women who worked in his dental office, and even patients. The accusations are against Dr. Kevin Pierce at Marshfield Family Dental.
The women who filed the lawsuits are Meghan Eakin, Pamela Denise Suchy, Kyla Hodges, Angela Anderson, Marsha Booher, and Amanda Pohlenz.
The women claim, in their lawsuits, that Dr. Kevin Pierce routinely "engaged in inappropriate, unwelcomed and unlawful sexual harassment conduct." They say Pierce's wife, Chris, also made offensive statements.
"Very sad, very inappropriate behavior," says attorney Jay Kirksey. "There were sexual statements, innuendos, gestures, touchings; it became a part of their work environment."
The lawsuit states Pierce would also "check out patients and ogle them and make inappropriate statements of a sexual nature." The female employees reported their concerns to their employer last Fall, but were not satisfied with the response.
Kirksey says, "It's not just one person or two; it's six different people, plus additional persons who step forward and say inappropriate conduct's occurring, and the response is a group meeting in which they're told, he's staying. He makes money. You can leave."
Heartland Dental, gave us this statement: “Heartland Dental was surprised to receive complaints from employees at Marshfield Family Dental Care in fall 2018. We responded promptly to these complaints and immediately took corrective action and implemented preventative measures. We would like to note that five of the six individuals who filed these complaints are still employees at the supported office, Marshfield Family Dental Care. As an equal opportunity employer, Heartland Dental is vigilant in its efforts to ensure a professional work environment for all its employees, including the plaintiffs.”
Dr. Kevin Pierce is not the one being sued, but rather Heartland Dental. The co-defendants, Missouri Dental Professionals, moved Pierce to another clinic in Springfield. Kirksey says the companies are named because it's now illegal to sue an *individual for sexual harassment at work.
"That's not good. That's not good for the employees or the citizens of the state of Missouri, but unfortunately, that's what our legislature decided,"says Kirksey. "Those individuals who would be inclined to engage in inappropriate or unlawful conduct; they understand they can no longer be sued, and therefore, there's no longer the preventive measure that you could be sued for doing wrong things."
But Kirksey is proud of the six women of Marshfield Family Dental for stepping forward. "They are helping not just themselves in their own immediate environment, but they're helping every other employee in southwest Missouri," says Kirksey.
KY3 reached out to Dr. Pierce's new clinic location in Springfield today, but he was unavailable for comment.