Professional Review

NASW promotes the quality and effectiveness of social work practice. Professional Review is a collaborative process between chapters and the national office to provide a peer review of alleged unethical conduct of its members. 

The professional review process is designed to correct and improve the practice of individual social workers as needed. The actions of the process are intended to be constructive and educative rather than punitive. Only in cases of serious misconduct may penalties be imposed.

How To File a Complaint

The process is designed to correct and improve the practice of individual social workers as needed. The actions of the process are intended to be constructive and educative rather than punitive. Only in cases of serious misconduct may penalties be imposed.


Membership and Self-Reporting

All NASW members agree to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics and agree to submit to professional review proceedings for any alleged violation of the same in accordance with NASW Bylaws. Any conviction of a felony or revocation of social work licensure will be grounds for rejection and/or termination of Association membership and revocation of any and all benefits resulting therefrom.


Unethical Conduct of a Social Worker

NASW has the responsibility of reviewing and resolving complaints of alleged violations of the NASW Code of Ethics. NASW can only review the ethical conduct of its members. If you believe a social work member of NASW is in violation of the Code of Ethics, one of your options is to file a complaint with NASW.


Sanctions in Force

NASW adjudicates certain allegations of violations of its Code of Ethics by members and, if violations are found, may impose sanctions. These may include sanctions of public notification, such as the notification of state licensing or regulatory boards, employers and others, if violators fail or refuse to take corrective action.


Most Frequently Substantiated NASW Code of Ethics Violations


  • 1.01 – Commitment to Clients
  • 1.06 – Conflicts of Interest
  • 1.07 – Privacy and Confidentiality
  • 1.09 – Sexual Relationships
  • 2.11 – Unethical Conduct of Colleagues
  • 3.04 – Client Records
  • 4.04 – Dishonesty, Fraud, and Deception
  • 4.06 – Misrepresentation