Ethical Standard of the Month: 2.01 Respect


Standard 2.01, Respect, focuses on social workers’ ethical responsibilities to colleagues. Revisions to 2.01 specify that social workers should communicate with colleagues respectfully, including in electronic communications. In addition, the reference to “mental and physical disability” was replaced with “mental and physical ability.”


  • Standard 2.01(b) now more specifically states that social workers should avoid unwarranted negative criticism of colleagues in verbal, “written, and electronic communications” with clients and with other professionals. Hence, social workers are accountable for what they write, text, or post online about colleagues.
  • Standard 2.01(b) was also modified by replacing "mental and physical disability" with "mental and physical ability"  as it relates to the attributes that social workers should avoid unwarranted criticism of.   This is a controversial change. The intent of the Task Force that proposed this new language was to be inclusive of people with formal and informal limitations, accounting for the full spectrum of abilities.