1. The Board generally has authority to act on a complaint that is jurisdictional; in other words, if the complaint alleges a violation of a law in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 154 or a rule in Minnesota Rules Chapter 2100. If the complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the Board it is dismissed and the file closed. If it is determined that another state agency has jurisdiction, the complaint will be forwarded to that agency.
2. If jurisdiction is established and the Committee determines to proceed with an investigation, the respondent (shop, school or individual complained about) will receive a letter detailing the allegations against them, applicable statutes and rules, information about their rights, and a timeline to submit a response to the complaint. Additional investigation may be conducted by Board staff such as inspections or requests for additional information. The Committee may request that the respondent (and, if applicable, respondent’s attorney) meet with the Committee to discuss the complaint.
3. Once the investigation is complete, the information gathered is reviewed and evaluated by the Committee to determine if there is sufficient information to prove that a statute or rule within the Board’s jurisdiction has been violated and whether enforcement action would be in the public interest. Factors considered include but, are not limited to:
a. Evidence available to substantiate a violation of statute(s) and/or rule(s) in Board’s jurisdiction.
b. Protection of public health and safety.
c. Any corrective action taken by the respondent.
d. History of previous enforcement actions regarding the same respondent and similar situation.
4. Based on this review, the Committee may dismiss and close the complaint (for reasons such as, but not limited to, inability to substantiate a violation of statute or rule, or corrective action taken) or attempt to resolve the matter through education, conciliation or a written settlement agreement including enforcement action.
a. Depending upon the facts and applicable law, the Committee may propose enforcement action in a settlement agreement with the respondent. A written settlement agreement must be approved by the Board in order to become effective. A settlement agreement may include, but is not limited to:
i. Civil Penalty (up to $,2000.00 per violation)
ii. Cease and Desist Order requiring an unregistered respondent to cease and desist from unauthorized practice or holding out as a being able to perform services that require registration by the Board.
iii. Stipulation and Order with a respondent who is registered by the Board that may include actions such as a censure or reprimand of the registration, revocation or suspension of a registration, denial of a registration application, or placing conditions on the registration.
5. If the Complaint Committee and a registered respondent cannot reach a settlement, then the Committee may decide to initiate a contested case hearing at the Office of Administrative before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Contested case hearings require specific procedures to assure due process. Once the hearing is completed the ALJ issues a report to the Board including findings of fact, conclusions of law and a recommendation to the Board on whether disciplinary action should be taken or not.
If the respondent is not registered by the Board the Committee may decide to issue a Cease and Desist Order against the respondent. The Cease and Desist Order provides the respondent an opportunity to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If the respondent does not request a hearing within the specified time period, the Cease and Desist Order becomes final.
6. Minnesota Statutes Chapter 14 provides a method for a respondent to appeal an Order of the Board on an enforcement matter at the conclusion of a contested case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals within a specific time period and following a specific procedure.
7. If the Committee receives information adequately demonstrating that an Order of the Board following a contested case has been violated, a case in District Court may be initiated for enforcement of the Board’s Order.
8. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, found in Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13, sets rules of how the Board maintains data on complaints and prohibits the Board from disclosing certain information related to complaints. Depending upon who is requesting the information, the type of information requested, and the stage in the complaint resolution process, the Board may, or may not, be able to release information requested. Each request for information is reviewed by the Board staff on a case-by-case basis and evaluated based on the applicable data privacy laws.
Each step of the complaint resolution process takes time and, therefore, it may take several months for a final resolution of a complaint. If there is a contested case before an Administrative Law Judge, that step may extend the process for several additional months.
Again, this summary is intended as a general outline of the complaint resolution process and each complaint is investigated and evaluated on a case by case basis.
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