A career in cosmetology can be incredibly rewarding, allowing you to help people feel like the best versions of themselves. You offer clients the confidence they cannot achieve on their own, often all while listening to their life's problems and achievements, big and small. Clients trust you with their physical appearance and safety in achieving their desired look.
On top of the costly tuition for cosmetology school, your training undoubtedly requires hundreds if not thousands of hours of training and/or apprenticeship hours. Most states require a minimum of 1500 training hours or, alternatively, 2,000 apprenticeship hours. Some states have even higher requirements. After all this time and work, we know how much your cosmetology license means to you and how proud you should be for earning it.
Because beauty services and procedures, if done improperly, can cause serious harm to clients, most states require licensure to ensure you are sufficiently trained. Licensure can be a good thing; proper education and all these requirements set you up for success in your career. But with licensure can come issues if a dissatisfied client or other party files a complaint. You can't afford to lose the license you worked so hard to earn.
What Kind of Complaints Could Result in Losing My License?
Complaints can be filed for many reasons, not all of which could result in losing your license. Complaints you should be concerned about include the following:
- Improper sanitation
- Misrepresentation of qualifications
- Use of unapproved products or procedure methods
- Overbilling clients
- Gross negligence or incompetency
- Physical or emotional abuse
Who Handles Complaints Against Cosmetologists?
Complaints against cosmetologists are handled differently throughout the country. Some states handle all professional licensure complaints through a single office. For example, in Texas, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation hears complaints for all 39 of the state's professional licensure programs. In other states, the complaint may be heard directly by the state's board of cosmetology; for example, in Maryland, a complaint against a cosmetologist would be directed to the Maryland State Board of Cosmetologists. Because the structure is different in every state, it is important to have national professional licensure attorney Joseph. D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team help you navigate the procedures in your state.
What is the Disciplinary Process Like?
While states may differ on the disciplinary process, Joseph D. Lento and his Professional License Defense Team will walk you through your state's procedures in detail; generally, the process includes the following steps: (1) complaint submission; (2) board review; (3) investigation; (4) disciplinary hearing; (5) decision and penalties; and (6) appeal, if necessary.
Anyone who believes that you have acted inappropriately or violated professional standards can file a complaint against you with the state board of cosmetology. This could be anyone you have encountered on the job, from a disgruntled colleague to a dissatisfied client. Generally, a complaint needs to be submitted in writing (this includes online submissions), providing the relevant board with detailed information about the incident and any supporting evidence.
The state board of cosmetology or other relevant licensure board will review the complaint to determine if it falls within their jurisdiction and if sufficient evidence warrants an investigation. They may request additional information from the person who reported you to the board.
If the board believes there is merit to the complaint, it will begin to conduct an investigation into the incident. This investigation may involve collecting evidence, interviewing the parties involved, and gathering any relevant documents or records. At this point, you will be notified about the complaint, likely in writing, even if you are already informally aware of the complaint.
If the investigation finds evidence of misconduct or violation of regulations, a formal hearing or disciplinary process may be initiated. During this process, you and the person who reported you can present their cases and provide supporting evidence or witnesses. The process typically follows the rules and procedures set by the state board of cosmetology. This is similar to what you imagine a trial would be like if you were in court, but remember, this is not a court of law. It is crucial that you do not prepare for or attend the hearing alone. You need the assistance of professional licensure attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Professional License Defense Team to help you navigate the complex timelines and requirements of your jurisdiction.
Decision and Penalties
After reviewing the evidence and hearing both sides, the state board of cosmetology or other relevant board will make a decision regarding the complaint. If the board finds that you are guilty of misconduct, they may impose various disciplinary penalties and sometimes a combination of penalties.
One common penalty is to place you on probation. While you may still work as a cosmetologist during probation during this time, there may be supervision or educational requirements for you to return to working independently.
License suspension is also a common penalty, meaning your license would be temporarily suspended for a specific period. With a suspension, you may be required to take additional actions related to the nature of the incident that got your license suspended.
Another option is license revocation which would be a complete termination of your license, prohibiting you from returning to the practice of cosmetology.
Additionally, the state licensing board may impose a monetary fine as a form of punishment and discouragement for reoffending.
If you disagree with the decision or the imposed penalties, you may have the right to appeal the board's ruling. The appeal process varies depending on the jurisdiction and may involve submitting an appeal application and attending an appeal hearing. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Team can guide you through what may be a complicated appeal process.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help
Even if a client's complaint seems frivolous, representing yourself is never a wise choice; every complaint should be taken as a real and serious threat to your license. We know how hard you worked and how much your cosmetology license means to you. That's why you need Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Professional License Defense Team to fight for your license, livelihood, and reputation. Contact us online or at (888) 535-3686 for immediate help defending your cosmetology license.