An Illinois dental practice is being sued by its staff after a newly-hired dental hygienist was arrested and charged with hiding secret cameras in the bathrooms.
Fourteen employees are seeking $50,000 each in damages from Aspen Dental Management in Crestwood, a town 20 miles southwest of Chicago.
They accuse the clinic of negligence in hiring, supervising and retaining Armani Alexander in his position, arguing that his previous criminal record should have raised red flags.
The employees say that one camera was discovered in a unisex employees bathroom on October 22, and it was handed to police.
Alexander, 25, ‘admitted to placing the camera’ in the bathroom and was arrested that day, the court papers say.
The office assured the workers that they swept the premises and did not find any more cameras.
However, four days later a second camera was found in the same bathroom.
A dental hygienist hired in August, Armani Alexander, 25, admitted to hiding the cameras
Fourteen employees are suing over the cameras, seen in this photo from their lawyers
Alexander was hired in August, and was arrested by Crestwood police on October 22, according to Cook County Record.
He has been charged with multiple misdemeanor counts in connection with the alleged illicit recordings.
On December 10 Clifford Law Offices, representing 11 of the employees, said they would file a suit in Cook County Circuit Court.
Two other firms represent the other three employees – Kelleher + Holland represent two, and Dudley & Lake represent one.
The complaints further include counts against the clinic of intrusion upon seclusion, because the clinic allegedly ‘breached their duty to ensure the privacy rights of their employees.’
Two cameras were found in the bathroom of Aspen Dental in Crestwood, Illinois, in October
Two cameras were found and employees believe they were spied on for several weeks
The employees – dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and a marketer – believe the cameras were placed there in September.
Aspen, which has more than 800 dental clinics nationwide, admitted that a background check for Alexander ‘was flagged for criminal activity,’ the court papers say.
But the suit claims that bosses failed to carry out further checks before hiring Alexander.
It is unclear what the previous alleged criminal activity involved.
Dentist Trent Jones, who along with dental assistant Alyssa Raine quit over the cameras, said the corporate office told him they knew Alexander had a criminal record.
‘In essence, Aspen Dental rolled out the proverbial red carpet for this documented offender so that he could carry out his perverse actions against a predominantly female staff,’ Jones said in a statement.
Raine said she was horrified to discover the violation of her privacy.
‘I am a very private person, and when I learned on Oct. 22 that a camera was found in the employee’s bathroom, I was shocked,’ Raine said in a statement.
‘I was sick to my stomach. Many of us at the clinic were crying.
‘I still cry about the way my privacy was taken from me.’
Dentist Trent Jones (left) resigned after the hidden cameras were discovered. Alyssa Raine (right) is also taking legal action
Raine said that when the second camera was discovered despite Aspen’s assurances that there were no others, ‘I knew this was the absolute worst place to work.’
She added: ‘I still am unable to use any public bathroom.’
Joseph Rourke, their lawyer, said Aspen Dental failed to protect its employees.
‘Aspen Dental, and its owners and managers, could have avoided this perverse invasion of privacy that resulted in unthinkable mental and emotional distress if they had followed up on the background check they conducted before deciding to hire this despicable individual.’
Aspen Dental is yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.