Do professional ethical standards apply when the professional is acting in a personal capacity?

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Do professional ethical standards apply when the professional is acting in a personal capacity?

If a CA licensed therapist acts in clear violation of professional ethical standards in a personal (non-client) capacity, can that person be held accountable, or do those standards only apply while the person is serving in a professional capacity or “on the clock”?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what the ethical standards say, and how they apply to this specific situation. Some ethical rules do have implications that can apply or occur in non-client circumstances. For example, lawyers can suffer censure or penalty for committing theft or embezzlement from people who are not their clients, or can have their license to practice suspended for drug or alcohal problems that did not actually affect the quality of their representation; that's because the majority of state professional codes of responsibility require lawyers to not engage in activity that can impact the reputation of the bar or the attorney's ability to be trusted with client money. So to answer your question, look to the relevant ethical rules or codes for therapists in CA and see how they apply to the specific situation.


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