Steps of a Professional License Complaint in Florida
There are dozens of licensed professionals in Florida who hold licenses necessary to maintain their current employment, including doctors, nurses, engineers, and contractors. However, at times individuals bring complaints against professionals’ licenses and put those licenses in danger. If you are a licensed professional and someone has filed a complaint against you, it is important to understand the steps you may have to undergo before the claim is resolved.
Filing a Complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation
In order to initiate a complaint against a licensed professional, individuals, government agencies, and insurance companies must all file a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Once the individual or entity files a complaint with the DBPR, a Department Analyst from the DBPR with expertise in your field will analyze it before it is sent for a field investigation by the relevant licensing agency. Up through this point in the process, the licensed professional still will not be notified of the initiation of the complaint and the initial investigation is confidential.
After initial analysis by a Department Analyst and field investigation, the licensed professional will be notified of the basis of the complaint and by whom it was filed. At this point, the licensed professional will want to hire an experienced local license defense attorney to represent them through the investigation and any further hearings. The full investigation typically will be comprised of a few core components: 1) getting pertinent documents and records, and 2) interviews of the complainant, professional, and any witnesses. Upon finishing the investigation, a prosecuting attorney from the State’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) will review the investigation report. The attorneys will then file a Letter of Closure or a proposed Administrative Complaint.
At this stage, a DBPR “probable cause” panel comprised of members of the applicable regulatory agency for your license will review the attorneys’ recommendation and will vote to close the case, prosecute the case, or simply issue a Letter of Guidance to admonish the professional for their actions.
If, after the investigations, the panel decides to prosecute the case, the claimant may file a formal Administrative Complaint against the individual and they can ask for an administrative hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Department of State’s Division of Administrative Hearings. During the hearing, much like at the investigation stage, witnesses and both parties will testify as to the actions in question. After the hearing, the ALJ will submit its recommendation to the board or agency that regulates the license. The board/agency will then make a final decision as to whether to accept, reject, or modify the ALJ’s recommendation. In most circumstances, a board/agency will accept the ALJ’s final decision and take appropriate action against the licensed professional such as revoking the license, if warranted. The board/agency’s decision is only appealable on rare occasions on limited procedural grounds.
Reach Out to Us for Assistance
If you face a complaint filed against your license, the experienced Clearwater employment attorneys at Dilla Employment Law, P.A. can help you through the administrative complaint process from the initial investigation through administrative hearings. Contact us today for your free consultation.