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The man had improper relations with an ex-client, the Virginia Board of Social Work said.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
A former counselor for the employee assistance program at Carilion Clinic has been reprimanded by state regulators for having an improper relationship with an ex-client.
J. Neil DeMasters sent emails to the woman that were inappropriate because they exceeded the bounds of their professional relationship, the Virginia Board of Social Work determined in an order filed this week.
In one of the October 2007 messages, DeMasters wrote that his “heart quickens” when he sees the woman’s name appear on his email list, the order stated.
DeMasters, a licensed clinical social worker, was reprimanded by the board and ordered to complete a continuing education course on the subject of maintaining boundaries with clients.
Carilion’s employee assistance program provides private counseling to staffers and their family members who may be experiencing personal problems. The program is offered to employees of the Roanoke-based health care system and to those from other employers who contract with Carilion for the service.
Carilion spokesman Eric Earnhart and DeMasters’ attorney declined to comment on the case.
Disciplinary charges against the nearly 6,000 licensed social workers in Virginia are rare. Six cases have been decided by the board so far this year, according to online records.
In an unrelated case, DeMasters filed a lawsuit last year against Carilion, claiming that he was fired in violation of federal law.
The lawsuit, which is still pending, claims that DeMasters was terminated after he failed to take Carilion’s side in a case in which an employee said he was sexually harassed by a supervisor.
During counseling sessions with the employee in 2008 and 2009, DeMasters acknowledged the employee’s concerns and agreed with his assertion that Carilion had mishandled the case.
A short time later, DeMasters was told by Carilion officials that he had not protected his employer’s interests and that his conduct had left Carilion “in a compromised position,” the lawsuit alleged.
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