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(1) Pursuant to 37-22-201 and 37-23-103 , MCA, the board hereby adopts the following professional and ethical standards for licensed professional counselors and licensed social workers to ensure the ethical, qualified, and professional practice of social work and professional counseling for the protection of the general public. These standards supplement current applicable statutes and rules of the board. A violation of the following is considered unprofessional conduct as set forth elsewhere in rule and may subject the licensee to such penalties and sanctions provided in 37-1-136 , MCA.

(2) A licensed professional counselor or licensed social worker shall abide by the following code of professional ethics.

(a) Licensees shall not:

(i) commit fraud or misrepresent services performed;

(ii) divide a fee or accept or give anything of value for receiving or making a referral;

(iii) violate a position of trust by knowingly committing any act detrimental to a client;

(iv) exploit in any manner the professional relationships with clients or former clients, supervisees, supervisors, students, employees, or research participants;

(v) engage in or solicit sexual relations with a client, or commit an act of sexual misconduct or a sexual offense if such act, offense or solicitation is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the licensee;

(vi) condone or engage in sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as deliberate or refuted comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature that are unwelcome by the recipient;

(vii) discriminate in the provision of services on the basis of race, creed, religion, color, sex, physical or mental disability, marital status, age or national origin;

(viii) provide professional services while under the influence of alcohol or other mind altering or mood altering drugs which impair delivery of services; or

(ix) engage in any advertising which is in any way fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading.

(b) All licensees shall:

(i) provide clients with accurate and complete information regarding the extent and nature of the services available to them;

(ii) terminate services and professional relationships with clients when such services and relationships are no longer required or where a conflict of interest exists;

(iii) make every effort to keep scheduled appointments;

(iv) notify clients promptly and seek the transfer, referral, or continuation of services pursuant to the client's needs and preferences if termination or interruption of services is anticipated;

(v) attempt to make appropriate referrals pursuant to the client's needs;

(vi) obtain informed written consent of the client or the client's legal guardian prior to the client's involvement in any research project of the licensee that might identify the client or place them at risk;

(vii) obtain informed written consent of the client or the client's legal guardian prior to taping, recording, or permitting third party observation of the client's activities that might identify the client or place them at risk;

(viii) safeguard information provided by clients. Except where required by law or court order, a licensee shall obtain the client's informed written consent prior to releasing confidential information; and

(ix) disclose to and obtain written acknowledgement from the client or prospective client as to the fee to be charged for professional services and/or the basis upon which the fee will be calculated.

History: 37-22-201, 37-23-103, MCA; IMP, 37-22-101, 37-22-201, 37-23-101, 37-23-103, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 2294, Eff. 10/17/03; TRANS, from Commerce, 2004 MAR p. 1477.

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