Professional exploitation occurs when a person who is a position of authority or is in a professional relationship with another person engages in illegal, unethical, or unlawful sexual activity with that person. It is sometimes referred to as professional sexual misconduct or sexual exploitation by a helping professional.

Most professional work associations have rules that prohibit professionals from engaging in sexual misconduct or exploitation with clients. A failure to follow these rules can be considered malpractice according to the rules of that association. They can also constitute malpractice according to broad industry, such as medical malpractice, attorney malpractice, or other forms.

Professional exploitation may involve actions such as:

  • Sexual assault;
  • Solicitation of sexual favors;
  • Sexual advances; and/or
  • Harassment by a professional against a client or patient.

Who can be Held Liable for Professional Exploitation?

Basically, any person who is a professional or is a member of a professional association could be held liable for professional exploitation. Common examples of professional exploitation resulting in malpractice include:

In some cases, several persons can be involved in the exploitation. Several persons may be committing the actual exploitation, and others may be involved in either supporting, concealing, or cooperating in the exploitation. Persons who have had a part in the exploitation may face liability as well.

What are the Legal Remedies for Professional Exploitation?

In many cases, professional exploitation can lead to serious legal issues. The victim of the exploitation may receive legal remedies, like compensatory damages, that cover various expenses and losses. These can include costs of rehabilitation or counseling, costs of medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other losses.

In addition, the professional who committed the exploitation may face several consequences. They will likely lose their operating license, and may also face criminal fines and fees as well. As mentioned, persons who have cooperated in the exploitation may face consequences as well. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Professional Exploitation Lawsuit?

Professional exploitation claims can be complex. It may be in your best interests to hire a defective products lawyer in your area if you need help with a lawsuit. Your attorney can provide you with advice for your case, help you prepare for trial, and can guide you through the process as well.