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Ethics

In this section you will find AOTA's resources on ethics intended for occupational therapy practitioners.

The Ethics Commission (EC) is one of the bodies of the Representative Assembly (RA) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The EC is responsible for developing the Ethics Standards for the profession which apply to occupational therapy personnel at all levels and in all professional and societal roles.

As per the Preamble of the Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010), "this commitment extends beyond service recipients to include professional colleagues, students, educators, businesses, and the community." The EC has two primary roles: education and enforcement.

How does the Ethics Commission work and what is their role? Find out more here.

Read frequently asked questions about ethics.

Need to contact the Ethics Department? Email the department here.

Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) (Code and Ethics Standards) Review Process

A draft of the revised Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics is ready for members to review and provide feedback via an online survey.

As part of the 5-year review cycle for official documents, the Ethics Commission (EC) of AOTA will be considering revisions to the current Occupational Therapy Code of Ethics and Ethics Standards (2010) (Code and Ethics Standards) in the upcoming year. Members will have opportunities for comment and input at various points throughout the review/revision process. Below is the anticipated schedule. We will update this schedule if it changes.

April–June 2014

The EC, having reviewed the current Code and Ethics Standards, current ethical trends, and other issues based on member concerns, and conducted general research related to health care ethics and other health care professional codes, meets to discuss potential revisions to the current Code and Ethics Standards. Members who want to provide the EC with comments as they discuss potential changes should send them to code@aota.org no later than June 6, 2014.

Early to mid-August 2014

The EC will present a preliminary draft of the reviewed and revised Code and Ethics Standards to AOTA members for feedback. The link to the draft will be posted in the AOTA Alerts page on AOTA’s website throughout the entire review period. Notices about reviewing the draft will also go into OT Practice, AOTA Alerts, and any other applicable AOTA venues, and all members will receive an email with the timeline and instructions for accessing the draft. The EC also solicits feedback from state licensure boards and NBCOT.

When the draft comes out, the EC will establish a discussion forum in OT Connections. The URL will be publicized through OT Practice, AOTA Alerts, and the AOTA website.

Those reviewing the draft will be able to email comments to the EC at code@aota.org.

The EC will also create and disseminate a survey about the new draft Code and Ethics Standards for AOTA members, state licensure boards, and other stakeholders. The survey will include an area for comments. The link to the survey will be posted in the AOTA Alerts page on AOTA’s website. 

Update August 11: The draft is now ready for review and an online survey for member feedback is available now

Late October/Early November 2014

The EC will review the results of the survey and meet to develop a second draft of the Code and Ethics Standards, considering the feedback that has been provided.

December 2014/January 2015

The revised draft of the Code and Ethics Standards will be available for members to review and will be submitted to the Representative Assembly for adoption as an action item. AOTA members can provide feedback about adoption of the Code and Ethics Standards to their RA representatives.

April 2015

The Representative Assembly will vote on adoption of the Code and Ethics Standards (2015) during their spring meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions about the review process are here.