Any member of the public, a commission member or a commission inspector can file a complaint about licensees or businesses regulated by the Cosmetology Commission. If you suspect unlicensed activity or if you think the law has been violated by a licensed professional or a business, you can file a complaint with the Commission office. You should know that:
Under South Dakota law, the Commission may revoke, suspend or refuse to issue a license and has the authority to take action against licensees for violations (basically, safety and sanitation violations), including:
The Commission does not have the authority to issue fines. But see Injunctions below.
The Cosmetology Commission takes complaints against licensees seriously. A complaint is handled as soon as it is received by the Commission office staff, who will acknowledge its receipt.
First, we make a determination on whether the alleged facts show a violation of existing laws or regulations. If we determine that a violation of law or rule did occur, the complaint is referred to the Commission's Investigating Committee, which consists of the Commission Vice-President, the Executive Director, an Assistant Attorney General and a Cosmetology Inspector, for review.
Next, we begin an investigation into the facts of the case. We inform the licensee, conduct interviews and gather evidence. The committee reviews the gathered information and evidence and decides whether to negotiate a settlement, file a formal complaint or dismiss the case for lack of evidence. At any time during this procedure, a settlement may be reached. You will be informed of the committee's decision.
If a formal complaint is filed, the licensee is entitled to a formal hearing. Depending on the case, either a majority of the Cosmetology Commission or an administrative law judge hears the case. If the hearing is conducted by the Commission, a majority vote is required to dismiss, refuse, revoke or suspend a license. During this hearing both sides may present evidence and witnesses, and lawyers will be present.
After the hearing, the licensee will be informed of the final decision (called Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law) by certified mail. The licensee has the right to appeal the decision to the circuit court and South Dakota Supreme Court.
When an unlicensed person is practicing procedures that would fall under the cosmetology law, the Cosmetology Commission (or any citizen of South Dakota) may bring an action in circuit court seeking an injunction. An injunction restrains any person, corporation and/or establishment from the practice of or instruction in cosmetology without a valid license.
Someone with a suspended or revoked license may apply for reinstatement. A written application establishing compliance with existing licensing requirements and demonstrating sufficient reasons for reinstatement must be sent to the Commission office. This application is reviewed by the Investigating Committee, which will schedule a hearing in front of the majority of the Commission. By majority vote, the Commission may impose, reinstate or reissue a license to any person whose license has been suspended or revoked.
All final actions of disciplinary proceedings (except dismissals) are published in the annual Commission newsletter.
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