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I am helping a friend who has to attend Disciplinary Hearing (California).

Basically the inspector checked foot SPA at her beauty salon and took off the foot SPA screen (the white thing in the picture) and told that it is not clean enough so she has to pay $500 fine.

enter image description here

Well, she cleans Foot SPA after every customer, but, yes, it seems that screen was not brushed to a perfectly clean state so that only white plastic surface would be visible. And I found that the regulations at http://www.barbercosmo.ca.gov/laws_regs/act_regs.pdf quite explicitly state:

(2) Scrub all visible residue from the screen, inside walls of the basin, any
other removable parts, and the area behind them with a clean brush and liquid soap
and water.

1. Is there a point to appeal this case? In particular - can the fine be reduced or waived by claiming that either the screen wasn't that dirty when inspector checked it or that the amount of fine is, in our opinion, too high for such a violation?

2. Can appealing lead to more trouble? I just checked myself that some of these regulations are subjective and very demanding. I am pretty sure that they could find some other things that they would not like and come up with extra fine for other things. Perhaps keeping low profile is better in this case?

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Yes. definitely appeal. I used to be the person these very type of appeals were brought before, and if someone took the time to appeal and actually showed up for the hearing, waited half the day for their 20 minutes, i typically cut it in half and if there wasn't a clear standard or if it was the first offense, I often waived the whole fine and turned it into a warning. It's also worth it because if it does get waived and it happens again it will be a first offense.

No, they cannot increase the charge/fine for appealing. Appeals are standard and are your right.

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  • During the hearing should I 1) try to "prove" that the foot spa screen wasn't that dirty or 2) would it be better to say that things have improved in the salon since the inspection or 3) that the penalty in our opinion seems to be too high for such a small violation? Thank you! – Jonny Oct 17 '15 at 0:25
  • I would state (assuming true) that it was regularly cleaned and that due to age, staining and water deposit make it appear dirtier than it is...and that disinfectants are applied after every customer. I would replace the filters and bring proof of this if possible, and tell them that you have amended your full cleaning schedule to double what it was prior. I would ask to have it waived, cite that you've never had any other infractions, and you will take steps on the future to make sure it's no only disinfected bit appears less dirty to the naked eye. – gracey209 Oct 17 '15 at 0:30
  • Unfortunately they did not offer to waive penalty. Based on the pictures that I saw only at the time of the hearing, the screen actually was dirty at the time of inspection (obviously another employee cleaned it after inspection and none of us saw it in dirty state). However, we did show pictures and cleaning schedule as you suggested that things have improved. Did we also have to explicitly ask to waive penalty as part of the hearing or just saying that things have improved is enogh? – Jonny Dec 1 '15 at 20:51
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    Typically, you would ask for a warning or a reduction with the understanding that any future violations would not be reduced. However, if it was very unsanitary they mayn't have been willing. – gracey209 Dec 1 '15 at 20:53

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