Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers

Rule Rule 877-030-0070
Ethical Responsibility to Clients


A regulated social worker’s primary responsibility is to clients. Regulated social workers must serve clients with professional skill and competence including but not limited to the following:

(1)

Dual Relationship:

(a)

Regulated social workers must not violate their position of power, trust, and dependence;

(b)

Regulated social workers may not enter into a relationship with a client that conflicts with the ability of the client to benefit from social work practice;

(c)

Regulated social workers may not enter into a relationship with a client that may impair the regulated social worker’s professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation of the client;

(d)

Regulated social workers may not enter into a relationship with a client that increases the risk of exploitation for the client for the regulated social worker’s advantage;

(e)

Regulated social workers may not provide professional social-work services to an employee, supervisee, close colleague, or relative, or to any other person if there is a risk that providing the service would impair the regulated social worker’s judgment or increase risk of client exploitation.

(f)

Regulated social workers may not enter into an employer, supervisor, or any other relationship if there is a potential for exercising undue influence on a client. This includes the sale of services or goods in a manner that might exploit a client for the financial gain or personal gratification of the regulated social worker or a third party, or if there is a risk that such a relationship would be likely to impair the regulated social worker’s judgment and increase the risk of client exploitation. This applies both to current clients and to those to whom the regulated social worker has, at any time in the previous year, rendered services as a regulated social worker.

(g)

Regulated social workers may not, under any circumstances, engage in or solicit sexual acts or engage in any conduct, verbal behavior or other communication with or towards a client that may reasonably be interpreted as sexual, seductive or sexually demeaning. This prohibition applies to current clients and to clients to whom the regulated social worker has at anytime within the previous three years provided social work services. The client’s consent to, initiation of, or participation in, sexual behavior with the regulated social worker does not change the prohibited nature of the conduct.

(2)

Regulated social workers must provide services with professional skill, cultural awareness, and language competency with respect to each client’s needs.

(3)

Regulated social workers may not provide inappropriate or unnecessary professional services to clients.

(4)

Regulated social workers must provide clients with accurate and complete information regarding the extent and nature of services available. This includes the risks, rights, opportunities, and obligations associated with the provision of professional services to the client.

(5)

Regulated social workers must seek consultation or make referrals whenever it may improve the provision of social-work services and is in the best interest of the client.

(6)

Regulated social workers may not attempt to provide professional social-work services to clients outside their area of competence, training, and qualifications.

(7)

Regulated social workers must terminate professional social-work services to clients when the services are no longer required or no longer serve the client’s needs or interests.

(8)

Regulated social workers may withdraw professional social-work services precipitously only under unusual circumstances, giving careful consideration to all factors in the situation and taking care to minimize possible adverse effect. Regulated social workers in fee-for-service settings may terminate services to clients who are not paying an overdue balance if the client does not pose an imminent danger to self or others; if the financial arrangements have been made clear to the client; and if the clinical and other consequences of nonpayment have been addressed and discussed with the client.

(9)

Regulated social workers who anticipate the termination or interruption of service to clients must notify those clients promptly and provide for transfer, referral, or continuation of service in relation to the client’s needs and preferences.

(10)

Regulated social workers may not violate the legal rights of their clients.

(11)

When a regulated social worker must act on behalf of a client who has been adjudged legally incompetent, the regulated social worker must safeguard the interests and rights of that client.

(12)

When another individual is legally authorized to act on behalf of a client, regulated social workers may conduct business with that person, always keeping the client’s best interests in mind.

(13)

Except as permitted in ORS 675.580 (Confidentiality of communication by client) and 40.250 (Rule 504-4. Regulated social worker-client privilege), regulated social workers must respect the privacy of clients and hold in confidence information obtained in the course of professional contact between client and the regulated social worker.

(14)

Information received by a regulated social worker from a potential client at the point of initial contact must be treated with the same respect for privacy as that of information received from a client.

(15)

Regulated social workers must inform clients fully about the limits of confidentiality requirements.

(16)

Access to records:

(a)

Regulated social workers must provide clients reasonable access to records concerning them and should take due care to protect the confidences of others contained in those records. Client access to their own records should be restricted only in exceptional circumstances when there is compelling evidence that access would cause harm to the client. Regulated social workers who are concerned that client access to their own records could cause serious misunderstanding or harm to the client should assist the client in interpreting the records. Both the client’s request and the rationale for withholding some or all of the record should be documented by the regulated social worker in the case file.

(b)

The provisions of sub-section (a) of this section do not apply in the case of a request for a public record.

(c)

The provisions of sub-section (a) of this section do not apply in the case of regulated social worker who practices within an agency.

(17)

Regulated social workers must obtain informed consent from clients before taping, recording, or permitting third party observation of their activities.

(18)

Regulated social workers, when making reports, must obtain a release of confidentiality and shall avoid undue invasion of privacy by only presenting patient data pertinent to the purpose of the report.

(19)

Fees. Regulated social workers in fee-for-service settings may charge reasonable fees and must inform clients of the fee arrangement before providing services.

(20)

Regulated social workers may not solicit the clients of colleagues.

(21)

Regulated social workers may not solicit clients from their employer for private practice.

(22)

Regulated social workers may not assume professional responsibility for the clients of another agency or colleague without appropriate communication with that agency or colleague.

(23)

Regulated social workers must relate to the clients of colleagues with full professional consideration.

(24)

A regulated social worker who serves the clients of colleagues, during a temporary absence or emergency, must serve those clients with the same professional competence as to his or her own.
Source

Last accessed
Jun. 8, 2021