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Can an ethics violation threaten my occupational therapy license?

When any industry makes an effort to provide practitioners with a code of ethics or conduct, it is safe to say that the industry as a whole cares about its reputation. Occupational therapy (OT) is a prime example an industry with ethical codes on both national and state levels.

California has its own code of ethics for occupational therapists outside of the American Occupational Therapy Association's (AOTA) ethics code. By making certain you adhere to the codes, you will likely not find yourself in danger of license revocation. Highlights from California's code of ethics include:

  • Comply with the AOTA Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics and OT Practice Act
  • Comply with state and federal laws when practicing OT
  • Only provide services based on best practices, evidence and clinical expertise
  • Pursue ongoing professional learning in order to ensure competency and to remain current on industry standards

Obviously, if you fail to comply with the laws governing OT, you may find yourself in need of a professional license defense. However, many OT professionals face unexpected workplace dilemmas that could also place their legal right to work in jeopardy.

For example, if a supervisor forces a therapist to treat someone for whom OT is not appropriate, the therapist may be violating the code of ethics. Further, some OT companies care more about their profits than they do their patients. In these situations, an otherwise careful OT professional may have to perform unethical or even illegal activities just to keep their jobs.

Of course, it is ultimately your responsibility to work under the laws governing OT. However, a professional license defense attorney can fill an important role if you find yourself in hot water over ethical violations.

Source: My OT Spot, "Ethical Dilemmas in Occupational Therapy," accessed March 14, 2018

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