Although it may seem unfair, our society often holds professionals to higher standards than others. You must complete specific amounts of education, pass licensure tests, and go through extensive background screening to attain a professional license. After obtaining your license, you also must avoid violating the laws and rules that apply to your profession, or you could face discipline from your licensing board.
You cannot anticipate every situation that might lead to complaints against your professional license. However, you should be aware of some steps to avoid complaints against your professional license.
Engage in Proper Communication with Your Clients
A lack of communication can directly lead to misunderstandings, dissatisfaction, and complaints about the professional services that you are providing. In the past, miscommunication was less likely because most communication occurred in person or via telephone. Now, communication more frequently occurs via text message or email message. This form of messaging can be very impersonal and not convey a tone that the sender does not intend. As a result, miscommunication is far more likely.
Similarly, if you fail to respond to repeated attempts by your clients, patients, or customers to reach you, you may be inadvertently sending them a message that they are unimportant and not worth your time. Whether you are overwhelmed with work, absorbed with a family emergency, or reluctant to relate bad news, a complete failure to communicate is not likely to improve the situation. If you cannot respond completely, you should at least explain your situation and schedule a time to speak or meet with the client shortly. Even if you made a mistake or things didn’t go as planned, you still have a duty to communicate with your clients or patients promptly. Simply ignoring the problem does not make it disappear and is more likely to result in the individual filing a complaint against your license.
Keep Up to Date with Your Board Rules and Laws
Every licensed profession is subject to the laws and rules of its licensing agency. If they violate these laws or rules, they can face discipline, ranging from reprimands or censures to suspension or revocation of their licenses. Therefore, being aware of these laws and rules and keeping ahead of any changes in these laws and rules is critical to avoiding any violation of your board’s rules and laws that apply to your profession.
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For instance, you should complete all continuing education requirements. In addition, many professions offer continuing education courses that update professionals on new rules or changes in the laws that apply to their professions. Licensing boards and professional organizations also regularly disseminate newsletters and other materials that update professionals with information they need to know to keep current in their profession. By taking advantage of these options, you can ensure that you comply with all applicable rules and laws that apply to your profession.
Educate and Supervise Your Staff
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As a professional, you typically are responsible for your staff members and their actions. In many cases, a client or patient’s complaint may not stem from your actions but the actions of your employee or subordinate. Many professions provide that you ultimately are liable for your employee’s actions, and, by extension, you can face discipline if they violate laws or rules related to your profession in some instances.
You should never solely rely on a single employee to ensure that work is done correctly. Instead, you need a set of checks and balances to spot red flags and address issues before they become major problems. By training and supervising employees properly, you can run your office, practice, or business more efficiently. Still, you also can protect yourself from unwanted complaints against your license.
Be sure to document everything that occurs – every phone call, every email message, and interaction you or your employee have with a client, patient, or customer. If you document everything, you will have more credibility if a dispute arises. If a problem does occur, document the problem, what steps you took to resolve it, and the disposition of the problem. Failing to document certain actions properly also can be a violation of your board’s rules or laws that apply to your profession, which makes documentation doubly important for avoiding complaints against your license that could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
Get Legal Advice Early
If a client, patient, or customer threatens to sue you or file a complaint against you, you must take those allegations seriously. Even if the complaint is groundless or a complaint never occurs, you should take steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario. You may want to consult an attorney who handles professional license cases to advise you about steps you might take to proactively handle the situation even before you receive notice of a complaint.
Allow Us to Represent Your Interests Before Your Licensing Board
If you face a complaint from your licensing board, you need to act immediately to protect your license and career. As you can see, the sanctions that you may receive during disciplinary proceedings before your licensing board can be quite severe. Your goal is to avoid or minimize these sanctions at all costs and preserve your clean record to the greatest degree possible, which you may be able to do with the help of an experienced license defense attorney. Contact Bertolino LLP today at (512) 476-5757 or visit us online.