Consumer Guide To Complaint Procedures/Disciplinary Actions and Complaint Form
Certain businesses and professions within the construction industry have been determined by the Legislature as affecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Persons practicing in these businesses and professions, with some exemptions, are required by state law to be licensed under the state board. These requirements are published in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, Title 43, Chapter 14.
General Licensing Requirements
If you file a complaint, you will be notified when it is received by the board. Your complaint will be given serious consideration by the board and further investigative action may be taken, if appropriate. You may be contacted by the board investigator. If you wish to be contacted by a board investigator, contact the board office. A referral of a complaint for further investigation does not necessarily mean that a licensing violation has occurred. Investigations are completed as soon as possible, depending upon the nature and circumstances of the complaint.
Investigative files, including any statements, documents, or reports, are considered confidential for any purpose other than a hearing before the board; however such records may be released to another enforcement agency or lawful licensing authority if authorized by the board.
Persons who practice a regulated business or profession without a license may, after hearing, be ordered to cease and desist. Violation of cease and desist orders may be subject to a fine by the board. Unlicensed persons are also subject to criminal prosecution by local authorities.
The board may discipline a licensee if the board determines, after hearing, that the licensee has violated statute or board rule. Such disciplinary action may include a fine, reprimand, suspension or revocation of the license. The board does not have the authority to order a licensee to complete or correct work that led to the complaint. The purpose of the disciplinary action is to protect the public from future violations.
The Hearing Process
After reviewing the results of the investigation, the board may determine that an apparent violation of the licensing law exists. If so, the board will refer the case to the State Attorney General’s office to initiate formal proceedings. However, in some instances, both the board and the licensee may agree to certain disciplinary sanctions by signing a Consent Order in lieu of a hearing.
Those cases which proceed to formal hearings are decided by an administrative law judge in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Procedures Act. If a hearing is conducted, you as the complainant may be called upon to testify, and your identity as a complainant may become known. After the formal hearing is conducted, the administrative law judge issues an initial decision which contains the findings of fact, conclusion of law, and recommended disciplinary action. The licensee may request or the board may conduct a review of the administrative law judge’s decision. After the board’s final decision is issued, the licensee may appeal that decision to the Superior Court of Fulton County.
The procedure is lengthy and may take months to complete. However, it is designed to insure due process and to protect the rights of the individuals involved.
Fees and Contracts
Most fee and contract disputes result from a lack of communication or misunderstandings between the parties. Such disputes generally do not come within the jurisdiction of the boards and must be resolved by the parties involved. The boards have no authority to set fees or settle monetary disputes. If you have failed to resolve a fee or contract dispute, you may wish to consider legal action.
What You May Expect
You may expect the state board to be genuinely concerned with your complaint. It will receive full and prompt attention. Where appropriate, the board will seek to remedy the violation, either through informal or formal means. Once the investigation and any hearing process are completed, you will be notified of the final outcome of our complaint.
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