The Connection Between Professional Ethics and License Defense
It’s frightening to find out that your license is under investigation or that a formal complaint has been filed against you. It’s something that many licensed professionals have experience with, and unfortunately, some have learned the hard way what they should and should not do. Some of the most common actions people make actually put your license at even greater risk—reaching out to the person who filed the complaint, reaching out to the licensing board without thinking about your plan first, or venting about the situation to coworkers, to name a few. With the team of Southern California license defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry, you can fight to keep your license and your career. Call us at 562-216-2944 to set up a consultation now.
California is widely known for the stringent requirements it places on workers. Reports indicate that 20% of Californians need a professional license to engage in their line of work, making it one of the most regulation-heavy states in the nation. While many states have loosened their restrictions in order to keep people working in their chosen career path, California has not followed this trend.
Understanding Professional Ethics
When you look at the guidelines and requirements of your profession’s licensing board, you’ll likely see that ethics form the foundation of what you are expected to do and how you are expected to conduct yourself as a professional. A strong sense of ethics can help professionals navigate complex issues with integrity and honesty while protecting clients’ or patients’ confidentiality. Ultimately, the goal of most ethical guidelines is to strengthen public trust in licensed professionals and ensure that professionals fulfill their obligations to patients or clients.
How Ethical Violations Can Lead to License Issues
Ethical violations are a common source of licensure complaints and, consequently, license investigations. Violations may be the result of consistent unethical behavior or ignorance regarding professional guidelines or the result of one slip in discretion and common sense. When professionals do not uphold the guidelines put in place for them, they weaken their credibility in the public’s eyes and make it harder for others to seek their services. Common ethical violations include breaches of confidentiality, conflicts of interest, illegal activities, and general incompetence.
Ethical behavior may be either regulated by licensing boards, upheld by the law, or both. Consider HIPAA, for example—care providers must protect patients’ privacy. It is both ethically wrong to violate a patient’s privacy and illegal, so a medical provider in violation of HIPAA could be subject to criminal investigation and a license investigation.
Professional Ethics and License Defense
When a service provider is facing a license investigation, it is crucial that they have a thorough understanding of the rules of ethical conduct in their profession. Even if they did make a mistake that violated ethical guidelines, a strong foundation of ethical behavior and choices can go a long way in protecting their career during their license defense.
Consider a medical provider with addiction issues
Example 1: the care provider came to work high one day after miscalculating how long it would take them to sober up before work. They have largely kept their addiction separate from their work due to the way it would affect the care they provide. They left work before treating any patients because they realized they were incapable of providing adequate care, but were still reported by a nurse who saw them.
Example 2: the care provider has a history of coming to work seriously impaired and has seen numerous patients while under the influence, despite the obvious safety risks this decision poses. Finally, someone turns them in.
While both care providers in these examples were unethical in coming to work impaired, the person in the first example has a long history of ethical behavior and immediately tried to do the ethical thing when they realized they were unsafe to work. The same cannot be said for the second example. In the first scenario, the licensing board may be likely to require substance abuse treatment as a condition of continued licensure; they would likely not go as easy on the second person.
Is Your License at Risk? Contact A License Defense and Administrative Lawyer at the Law Offices of Robin D. Perry Now
If you’ve been notified of a license investigation, do not wait to see if it goes any further before getting in touch with a lawyer. A license defense and administrative attorney at The Law Offices of Robin D. Perry is ready to start working on your case now. Call us at 562-216-2944 or reach out online to schedule your free consultation.
Attorney Robin D. Perry has been part of the Long Beach Community for over 25 years handling business litigation, employment litigation and advising, criminal defense, personal injury and code enforcement defense for businesses.