Professionals are often surprised to learn that a complaint against their license was not immediately reported to them. Indeed, the process for most licensing boards—though these various boards do differ in the particulars of their requirements and the procedures by which they enforce them—is to review a given complaint thoroughly for certain criteria before alerting the professional against whom the complaint was made. Those criteria include:
- Whether the agency has jurisdiction over the complaint. A board’s jurisdiction—the activities over which it can pass judgment or against which it may take action—is often defined clearly by a relevant statute. A good number of complaints are dismissed outright for lack of jurisdiction—which is one important reason for professionals not being alerted of complaints at the first stage of the process. A formal complaint can be a significant stressor on a professional, even where it is not pursued. This criterion, therefore, helps keep professionals from being distracted by frivolous or improperly-lodged complaints.
- Whether the complaint is levied at someone that the agency’s board licenses. (Again, a surprising number of complaints are dismissed for not meeting this criterion.)
- Whether the act of which a professional is accused would, in fact, qualify as a violation of a Texas or federal law, or of an agency rule, was that act proved to have taken place. Again, here is a good reason for professionals not to be notified of the complaint too early. Why clutter a professional’s life with complaints not arising to the level of enforceability?
If a complaint does satisfy these criteria, a professional will be made aware of the complaint levied against their license through a formal channel. Generally, the board overseeing the complaint process will also request that the professional make a formal response to the allegation. At this very first stage in which the professional is involved, it is key that one obtain counsel to craft a strong initial response—because this is where a professional begins to defend their license.
A complaint must be taken seriously from the get-go by the professional—because the board has already deemed it worthy of pursuit. The initial response may well shape the rest of the complaint process to come, from whether the complaint is dismissed altogether to the nightmare scenario of losing one’s license, and therefore one’s livelihood.
Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action from a professional licensing board or state agency, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.
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