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AOTA Code of Ethics (2020)

Excerpts) Read the entire AOTA Code of Ethics document here

Standards of Conduct

1. Professional Integrity, Responsibility, and Accountability: Occupational therapy personnel maintain awareness and comply with AOTA policies and Official Documents, current laws and regulations that are relevant to the profession of occupational therapy, and employer policies and procedures.

1A. Comply with current federal and state laws, state scope of practice guidelines, and AOTA policies and Official Documents that apply to the profession of occupational therapy. (Principle: Justice; key words: policy, procedures, rules, law, roles, scope of practice)

 1B. Abide by policies, procedures, and protocols when serving or acting on behalf of a professional organization or employer to fully and accurately represent the organization’s official and authorized positions. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: policy, procedures, rules, law, roles, scope of practice)

1C. Inform employers, employees, colleagues, students, and researchers of applicable policies, laws, and Official Documents. (Principle: Justice; key words: policy, procedures, rules, law, roles, scope of practice)

1D. Ensure transparency when participating in a business arrangement as owner, stockholder, partner, or employee. (Principle: Justice; key words: policy, procedures, rules, law, roles, scope of practice)

1E. Respect the practices, competencies, roles, and responsibilities of one’s own and other professions to promote a collaborative environment reflective of interprofessional teams. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: policy, procedures, rules, law, roles, scope of practice, collaboration, service delivery)

1F. Do not engage in illegal actions, whether directly or indirectly harming stakeholders in occupational therapy practice. (Principle: Justice; key words: illegal, unethical practice)

1G. Do not engage in actions that reduce the public’s trust in occupational therapy. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: illegal, unethical practice)

1H. Report potential or known unethical or illegal actions in practice, education, or research to appropriate authorities. (Principle: Justice; key words: illegal, unethical practice)

1I. Report impaired practice to the appropriate authorities. (Principle: Nonmaleficence; key words: illegal, unethical practice)

1J. Do not exploit human, financial, or material resources of employers for personal gain. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: exploitation, employee)

1K. Do not exploit any relationship established as an occupational therapy practitioner, educator, or researcher to further one’s own physical, emotional, financial, political, or business interests. (Principle: Nonmaleficence; key words: exploitation, academic, research)

1L. Do not engage in conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment in employment, volunteer roles, or research. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: conflict of interest) To be published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(Suppl. 3) 26

1M. Do not use one’s position (e.g., employee, consultant, volunteer) or knowledge gained from that position in such a manner as to give rise to real or perceived conflict of interest among the person, the employer, other AOTA members, or other organizations. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: conflict of interest)

1N. Do not barter for services when there is the potential for exploitation and conflict of interest. (Principle: Nonmaleficence; key words: conflict of interest)

1O. Conduct and disseminate research in accordance with currently accepted ethical guidelines and standards for the protection of research participants, including informed consent and disclosure of pf potential risks and benefits. (Principle: Beneficence; key words: research).

7. Professional Civility: Occupational therapy personnel conduct themselves in a civil manner during all discourse. Civility “entails honoring one’s personal values, while simultaneously listening to disparate points of view” (Kaslow & Watson, 2016, para. 1). These values include cultural sensitivity and humility.

7A. Treat all stakeholders professionally and equitably through constructive engagement and dialogue that is inclusive, collaborative, and respectful of diversity of thought. (Principle: Justice; key words: civility, diversity, inclusivity, equitability, respect)

7B. Demonstrate courtesy, civility, value, and respect to persons, groups, organizations, and populations when engaging in personal, professional, or electronic communications, including all forms of social media or networking, especially when that discourse involves disagreement of opinion, disparate points of view, or differing values. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: values, respect, opinion, points of view, social media, civility)

7C. Demonstrate a level of cultural humility, sensitivity, and agility within professional practice that promotes inclusivity and does not result in harmful actions or inactions with persons, groups, organizations, and populations from diverse backgrounds including age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, origin, socioeconomic status, degree of ability, or any other status or attributes. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: civility, cultural competence, diversity, cultural humility, cultural sensitivity)

7D. Do not engage in actions that are uncivil, intimidating, or bullying or that contribute to violence. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: civility, intimidation, hate, violence, bullying)

7E. Conduct professional and personal communication with colleagues, including electronic communication and social media and networking, in a manner that is free from personal attacks, threats, and attempts to defame character and credibility directed toward an individual, group, organization, or population without basis or through manipulation of information. (Principle: Fidelity; key words: civility, culture, communication, social media, social networking, respect)


OTAC is the Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado. It is a non-profit organization that strives to increase the quality of care and level of professionalism to the practice of OT in Colorado.

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