Social services providers are a critical part of our societal safety network. The job functions social workers perform in the public sector can expose them to various legal issues. It’s important that organizations understand how actions on part of their employees, whether intentional or not, can lead to costly lawsuits.
Prevention and Protection
Protecting an agency from legal concerns includes proper education and oversight of service providers and comprehensive liability insurance. Here are three ways professional behavior can be enhanced:
- Ethics education: Provide thorough teaching about the standards required in the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics.
- Employee assistance: Offer therapeutic support to employees who are under professional duress related to work pressures.
- Professional review: Perform consistent evaluations of employee performance to deter ethical and professional malfeasance.
Organizations must prepare for the eventuality of claims for social services delivery issues. In the event of a professional violation, employers should ensure there is protection against negligence claims between the agency and the claimant. Social service insurance can cover the many unanticipated perils related to employee and client or family interactions.
Training and monitoring of social service workers can reduce legal exposures for organizations. It is also important to insure against costly legal matters, in the event employee violations or missteps do occur.