The regulation and discipline of licensed professionals is important and necessary to protecting the public by ensuring licensed professionals comply with the rules and regulations covering the practice of their professions. Disciplinary records are available to the public, which can and does affect a consumer’s decision to seek professional services from even a well-referred professional. Last year a new law amended the Department of Professional Regulation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois, to allow a licensee to request removal of certain disciplinary offenses from the Department’s website under certain conditions.
The amended law, Records of Department action states in pertinent part, “Any licensee subject to a licensing Act administered by the Division of Professional Regulation and who has been subject to disciplinary action by the Department may file an application with the Department on forms provided by the Department, along with the required fee of $200, to have the records classified as confidential, not for public release and considered expunged for reporting purposes…” 20 ILCS 2105/2015-207.
There is a qualification process the starts with the age of the conduct or offense.
To qualify for the confidential classification of records four criteria must first be met. First, the offense or offenses must have occurred at least seven (7) or more years prior to the date of an application to the Department. Second, the licensee making the application may not have any other discipline incidents under the licensing Act since the occurrence of the underlying disciplinary record sought to be classified. Third, the applicant must not be the subject of any current or pending investigations by the Department. The fourth requirement is that the licensee must not be currently be in a disciplinary status at the time of the application to classify and remove past discipline from public view.
Discipline related to a limited number of offenses is permitted for a confidential classification application.
Even if an applicant is not under current investigation or discipline and the offense sought to be classified is more than seven (7) years passed, only a few certain types of offenses are allowed to be considered for removal from public view under the Act. Specifically, the offenses or actions qualifying under the amended law include: the failure to pay taxes or student loans; continuing education offenses; failure to renew a license on time; failure to obtain or renew a certificate of registration or ancillary licensee; advertising offenses; or any grounds for discipline that have been removed from the licensing Act.
It is important to note that even if an application to classify past discipline records is approved by the Department, the process does not affect national databases where disciplinary records may still appear. Many national databases, however, are not generally available to the public and only qualified users have access to that information.
Michael V. Favia & Associates represent licensees with disciplinary and regulatory matters.
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