Are you a licensed professional who has had a complaint filed against you with your state licensing agency or board? If so, you might be under significant stress, fearing the effects of the complaint on your brand, reputation, career, and financial security. But while your license and ability to work in your chosen profession may be at risk, you do not have to face these challenges alone. A Tallahassee professional discipline lawyer from Cruz Law Firm, P.A., can help you fight back and protect your good name.
We are proud to have helped Florida citizens like you through some of the most challenging employment matters – and our dozens of five-star Google reviews are a testament to our success on their behalf. Moreover, our attorneys are recognized for their deep knowledge and experience, and we are asked to speak across the state on labor, employment, and professional regulation issues.
We understand the financial and emotional burden that professional disciplinary proceedings can have on your life. That’s why we are ready to start investigating the charges against you and preparing an effective strategy to protect your reputation and interests. We will work vigorously and tirelessly to seek the best possible outcome in your case.
If you’ve been accused of malpractice or an ethical or regulatory violation in your work, Cruz Law can help. You shouldn’t have to face disciplinary boards alone. Let us explain your legal options and what to expect in the professional disciplinary process when you contact us for an initial consultation with a professional discipline attorney in Tallahassee.
What Types of Professionals Are Subject to Professional Discipline?
Professions in Florida subject to disciplinary oversight by the state include:
- Medical practitioners, including doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, radiology technicians, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, mental health therapists, chiropractors, optometrists, dentists, paramedics, and athletic trainers
- CPAs and accountants
- Insurance agents
- Real estate agents
- Alcoholic beverage licensees
- Architects and interior designers
- Barbers, hair stylists, and cosmetologists
- Construction contractors
- Home inspectors
- Childcare providers
- Financial advisors
- Funeral directors and embalmers
- Private investigators
- Security officers
- Surveyors and mappers
- Harbor pilots
- Clinical social workers
What Are Common Behaviors That Lead to Disciplinary Complaints?
Examples of behaviors or conduct that can lead to disciplinary complaints include:
Malpractice involves a failure to fulfill professional duties or to exercise ordinary professional skill or learning in rendering professional services, leading to someone suffering injury, damage, or losses. Malpractice typically refers to negligence by professionals such as attorneys, physicians, and medical providers.
Violations of Professional Standards
Many licensed professionals have written professional standards in performing the duties of the trade. Failure to follow these standards can lead to disciplinary action instituted by a licensing board or agency.
Breach of Professional Ethics
Some professionals, such as attorneys and financial advisors, must also follow ethical rules, which generally govern their behavior in the business environment and their conduct towards clients. Breaching ethics may result in disciplinary complaints or lawsuits from clients.
Professionals may also face disciplinary action for substance use occurring on the job or for showing up to work while intoxicated. In many cases, disciplinary complaints involving substance abuse may lead to a professional being required to seek treatment rather than being subject to sanctions, unless the substance abuse resulted in someone’s physical injury or serious property damage.
Professional negligence occurs when a professional fails to fulfill their client duties and obligations. Professionals must use reasonable care in performing their duties.
People who perform work in licensed professions while not holding a valid license, such as when their license was suspended, revoked, or not renewed, may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings by state boards and potentially criminal prosecution.
Professionals who commit crimes in their employment, such as criminal fraud, embezzlement, or theft, will likely face professional disciplinary actions in addition to criminal prosecution.
Misconduct as an Employer
Professionals who employ other professionals or support staff may face disciplinary complaints for improper employer conduct, such as discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against employees.
What Should I Do When an Investigator from a Florida Professional Licensing Agency Contacts Me?
If you are a licensed professional contacted by a state agency investigator, you can take the following steps to protect yourself, your license, and your reputation:
- Gather all records and evidence related to the disciplinary allegations against you.
- Talk to co-workers or witnesses who may have relevant testimony supporting your defense.
- Do not delete, destroy, or throw away any records, documents, or other evidence.
- Do not agree to give a statement or submit to questions without first consulting with a professional discipline attorney. You may not be legally required to give a statement or answer the investigator’s questions.
- Do not attempt to contact the person or persons making the disciplinary allegations against you, as it may be construed as an attempt to intimidate witnesses or interfere in the investigation.
Finally, talk to a professional discipline lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights during the disciplinary process and to get an advocate who will fight to protect your interests.
If I Am Served with an Administrative Complaint, What Should I Do?
If you are served with a disciplinary complaint from your licensing board, you should:
- Stay calm. You may end up worsening your situation with a panicked response, such as trying to hide or destroy evidence or contacting the person who filed the complaint against you to convince them to withdraw it.
- Treat the situation seriously. Do not try to ignore the complaint, even if you think the allegations against you are baseless. Failing to respond to the complaint may result in severe sanctions, such as a suspension or revocation of your professional license.
- Hire a Tallahassee professional discipline lawyer. The sooner you do so, the sooner you will have an advocate looking out for your rights throughout the disciplinary process.
- Review the allegations in the complaint closely. Collect any relevant records, documents, or other evidence.
- Cooperate with the investigation as required by your profession’s ethics rules or professional regulations.
- Timely file your response to the complaint within the stated time limit.
- Request a formal hearing if you choose to contest the allegations against you.
- Carefully review any correspondence you receive from the licensing agency or board, including notice of the date, time, and location of hearings.
- Consult with your lawyer to determine the best option for obtaining a favorable resolution of the complaint. This could mean negotiating a settlement or defending yourself in an administrative hearing.
Should I Hire an Attorney Before I Sign a Settlement Agreement with a Florida Agency?
In many cases, disciplinary complaints or allegations can be resolved through a settlement agreement with your licensing board or agency. However, you should never accept a settlement of your disciplinary matter before consulting with a Tallahassee professional discipline lawyer from Cruz Law.
A settlement agreement may impose some form of discipline, including financial penalties or suspension of your license. The settlement may also subject you to harsher discipline, including revocation of your license if you commit further disciplinary infractions in the future.
You should ensure you understand your legal rights and obligations under a disciplinary settlement before you agree to the settlement, as it can help you avoid giving up important rights and interests.
How an Attorney Can Help with Your Professional Discipline Matter
Let a Tallahassee professional discipline lawyer from Cruz Law help you address disciplinary complaints and allegations. We are ready to work to protect your license and your ability to practice your chosen profession by:
- Scrutinizing the allegations against you to help you understand the basis for the disciplinary charges.
- Investigating the charges thoroughly and independently to recover all available evidence we can use to build an effective, persuasive defense on your behalf.
- Identifying factual and legal defenses available to you.
- Advising you of your rights at each stage of the case, including whether to provide a statement to investigators or to contest the disciplinary allegations in an administrative hearing.
- Negotiating a settlement, if appropriate, to help you avoid the most severe possible discipline.
- Advocating in your defense if you choose to contest the disciplinary allegations against you.
Contact a Tallahassee Professional Discipline Lawyer Today
Are you facing a professional disciplinary matter? If so, your career, livelihood, and good name could be at risk. However, you do not have to face this matter alone. You deserve experienced legal counsel when your job and professional future are at risk. Don’t leave the outcome of a professional disciplinary matter to chance.
A Tallahassee professional discipline lawyer with our firm can meet you during an initial consultation. We look forward to listening to your story, learning more about how we can help you as you face a disciplinary proceeding, and protecting your interests.
Our attorneys represent licensed professionals in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and along the Florida Panhandle. Contact Cruz Law Firm today.