Common Errors Licensed Professionals Make When Facing a Board Complaint
As seen in the May edition of On The Record, The Official Newsletter of BERTOLINO LLP
If you are a license holder and you receive a notice that a formal complaint has been filed against your license by a Texas licensing agency or board, it will likely become one of the biggest fears in your life. It goes without saying that a formal complaint can have enormous repercussions on your reputation, career, and livelihood. The repercussions can range from a mere disciplinary “slap on the wrist” all the way to outright revocation of a license to practice in a career that you love. As such, when such a notice arrives in the mail, by email or by courier, it can be a quite natural response to make a couple of errors. But it is extremely important that professionals handle things properly if they have any hopes of achieving a positive outcome.
For example, sometimes a license holder will receive the notice of complaint and set it aside, putting it out of sight and out of mind. DON’T DO THAT. At the very least, it can result in a failure to submit a response on time, which the licensing authority is likely to interpret as failing to respond at all. Where it comes to the complaint process, deadlines are to be considered hard and fast. Not making a timely response puts a real dent in a professional's credibility. It can also result in the forfeiture of certain legal rights and can bring on further sanctions or disciplinary action. And yet, responding in a timely fashion becomes more difficult the longer a license holder waits—not least because a proper response often entails the collecting of various records and other forms of evidence, which may take time.
It's also very important to respond to each of the allegations made in a given complaint. Smoothing over allegations that a professional knows to be baseless is not the way to go. It's highly unlikely that a Board will unilaterally dismiss a complaint without the professional confronting it head-on. A direct response to every allegation is the only way to go, even if it requires a bit of redundancy.