Keeping a documented trail of your actions can be very beneficial in the long term.
Joining any profession is a long, hard, expensive process. It’s an achievement to finally be entitled to those letters behind your name, and to practice in the field you worked so hard to become a member of. You probably spent many years in college and possibly graduate school, and a few more climbing the ladder from the very bottom.
Having your professional license revoked, and all that work be for nothing is probably unthinkable, and it’s certainly the worst thing that could happen to most professionals, whether doctors, lawyers or engineers, or any other profession.
Sometimes, due diligence is all that stands between you and the decision leading to professional license suspension by the governing body of your profession. Here’s what you need to know.
Reasons for License Revocation
The reasons why professional licenses are revoked vary from profession to profession, and from state to state, but there are a few common and not-so-obvious reasons why you might get in trouble:
- In many health and therapy professions, any inappropriate relationship with a patient.
- In financial professions, falling behind on taxes or any financial impropriety.
- A lack of ethics or moral compass.
- Criminal activity not related to the profession. Usually, this falls under the umbrella of bringing the profession into disrepute.
- Knowingly steering clients in the wrong direction, and failing to honor the special relationship between professionals and their clients.
Those are all very broad, and it’s always a good idea to review your own profession’s code of conduct regularly, to make sure you stay on top of the requirements.
Burden of Proof
Generally, when you are subject to disciplinary action or censure by a professional body, it’s a long process. You’re not likely to be stripped of your license overnight, except under extraordinary circumstances. The organization will probably receive a complaint, conduct an investigation, and then have a hearing or hearings to determine the accuracy of the claims.
The burden of proof will usually be on the accuser, or in the case of criminal charges, on the courts.
How Due Diligence Can Help You
Due diligence has a big role to play in protecting yourself from spurious claims, or from claims or accusations that arise through no fault of your own.
If you can prove that you did not break any laws, and that you acted in the best interests of your clients, and the reputation of the profession, to the best of your ability, there’s a good chance you will beat a claim of negligence or professional misconduct. But the trick is to make sure you have that proof, to avoid professional license suspension.
Take care to document every decision you make in your business and your professional life. Never take anything at face value. Research every deal, every situation and every scheme that is presented to you as a professional. Keep careful records of all your research, along with names and dates.
By having a clear, documented paper trail that clearly sets out your thought process in every situation, if you are ever required to defend your actions, you will have everything you need at your fingertips. Because no one expects professionals to be perfect. We all make mistakes. Due diligence just proves that it was, indeed an error, and not deliberate flouting of the rules.