Have you been informed of a complaint filed against your cosmetology license in Florida? Are you concerned about what this means for your future career, income, and reputation? In Florida, a complaint filed against a cosmetologist or any licensed professional can lead to severe penalties that might include fines, restriction of services, and at worst, suspension or withdrawal of license.
Losing your cosmetology license can essentially take away your ability to earn a living in the career that you’ve dedicated years to. If a complaint has been filed against you, no matter how groundless it may be, you must take swift action to respond and resolve it effectively. At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense attorneys help you protect your livelihood and reputation as a respectable, accredited cosmetologist.
The role of a cosmetologist entails many aspects of the beauty industry. This profession involves providing customers with various beauty services for aesthetic purposes, such as care for their hair, skin, and nails.
Cosmetologist professionals include:
According to Florida Statute 477.013(4), cosmetology means:
“The mechanical or chemical treatment of the head, face, and scalp for aesthetic rather than medical purposes, including, but not limited to, hair shampooing, hair cutting, hair arranging, hair coloring, permanent waving, and hair relaxing for compensation. This term also includes performing hair removal, including wax treatments, manicures, pedicures, and skin care services.”
Having a cosmetology license is critical to be successful in the beauty industry. Having a license demonstrates to clients and employers that you have the skills, experience, and education necessary to meet the broad range of beauty needs in demand. Meeting the requirements to acquire a Florida cosmetology license protects the public from untrained and unqualified beauty professionals who could unwittingly cause aesthetic damage.
The Board of Cosmetology handles all licensing and regulatory cosmetology matters and implements the requirements outlined in the Florida Statute, Chapter 477, on cosmetology. The Board is overseen by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) that monitors over one million Florida professionals and companies. Throughout the year, the Board meets to review disciplinary cases and conduct informal hearings related to licensure and discipline.
A licensed Florida cosmetologist may be subject to a complaint that could result in disciplinary action for various activities, according to Florida Statute 477.028. The Umansky Law Firm license defense attorneys provide legal defense to the administrative action in all disciplinary situations, including:
Any actions a cosmetologist performs while practicing that could potentially harm the public—like providing services while having an infectious disease, for example—can result in disciplinary action and possibly revocation of license.
Anyone who wishes to enter a complaint against a licensed cosmetologist in Florida would do so by contacting the DBPR and filling out a Uniform Complaint Form. Complaints submitted to the DBPR are administrative and do not settle civil disputes related to price disagreements, quality of artistry, or contract conflicts. Anyone who enters a complaint found to be false or misleading can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor, according to Florida Statute Section 837.06.
After the DBPR receives a complaint against a licensed cosmetologist, it’s reviewed by an investigator who will further assess the case. The investigation includes collecting information used in deciding whether the complaint has adequate legal grounds to continue.
Information collected during a DBPR investigation generally includes:
As a licensed cosmetologist, it is strongly recommended that you obtain experienced legal advice as soon as possible to help you develop a response to the investigation. If you act early, a skilled lawyer can often close the inquiry at its earliest stages before it becomes a public record—saving your reputation from damage.
Suppose the DBPR investigation acquires enough evidence to move the complaint forward. In that case, it will be reviewed by a Probable Cause Panel, which takes into account details and evidence associated with the complaint, along with rules or regulations that were violated.
During this process, it is essential that you seek counsel from an experienced administrative law attorney and not attempt to manage it alone.
The panel review could lead to three possible outcomes:
A determination of “no probable cause” indicates there was not enough evidence to confirm that a violation had been committed. A “letter of guidance” is not a disciplinary action but can damage your professional reputation. If a formal Administrative Complaint is issued against you, the Administrative Complaint process will move forward to the next step in the administrative action.
An Administrative Complaint describes the evidence and information found during the investigation and the specific rules or regulations that were violated. At this juncture, the complaint becomes public record. Even if the claim is tossed out, your reputation as a qualified hair stylist, barber, nail technician, or esthetician could be damaged. After discussing your available options with your lawyer, you can decide whether you’ll attend an Informal Hearing or Formal Hearing.
If you decide to proceed with an Informal Hearing, you do not anticipate arguing against any of the claims against you, nor do you want to disclose any new evidence. Instead, you acknowledge the complaints, and the Board of Cosmetology will make a definitive decision on penalties that will be imposed against you.
If you decide to dispute the charges and evidence found against you during the investigation, you move forward to a Formal Hearing. This hearing is before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) and is overseen by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ considers the evidence from both sides and makes a final Recommended Order to the Board of Cosmetology. The Board then makes a final decision on what disciplinary actions to follow.
Remember that you can appeal the decision by filing a judicial review petition if your cosmetology license is suspended or revoked. Your lawyer is your most valued advocate and a crucial part of your defense team when going through this process—always consult with them before making a final decision.
At The Umansky Law Firm, our professional license defense team investigates every case in substantial detail to discover the facts and determine the best strategy to resolve the complaint. In some cases, complaints against cosmetologists can go to criminal court and be criminalized. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney with experience in professional license defense is critical.
The Umansky Law Firm administrative law attorneys can help you in some of the following ways:
If you have been accused of wrongdoing and the State may rescind or suspend your cosmetology license or business activities, call The Umansky Law Firm to defend you. As experienced trial lawyers, we know how to build a strong defense against the allegations you face, including dismissal of the citation, complaint, or claim against you. Because we have a criminal defense background, we stand ready to defend you in the administrative action and help you avert license suspension and criminal prosecution.
The Umansky Law Firm attorneys include defense lawyers, former prosecutors, and lawyers with experience working directly for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. To speak with an administrative attorney about your Florida cosmetology license, complete an online contact form or call today.
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