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-   -   What defines a collegue as "unethical'? (http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?t=80)

Darabe015 July 26th, 2004 06:49 AM

What defines a collegue as "unethical'?
 
The question really is more like this: How do you know the difference between what is an ethics issue, a moral issue or just a plain lack of integrity issue...regarding behaviors/choices of a collegue that are at least questionable? AND, what is the standard approach to a situation like this? This is a delicate issue and I appreciate your response. Thankyou!

(I will provide more information if necessary, but this is my first post and I want to be sure I am not stepping outside the rules here! Let me know! :) )

loftus75 July 26th, 2004 09:06 AM

Re: What defines a collegue as "unethical'?
 
[quote=Darabe015]The question really is more like this: How do you know the difference between what is an ethics issue, a moral issue or just a plain lack of integrity issue...regarding behaviors/choices of a collegue that are at least questionable? AND, what is the standard approach to a situation like this? This is a delicate issue and I appreciate your response. Thankyou!

It seems to me you can divide the answer down logically.

Morality is a cultural and ideological issue, what one culture may see as morally void would be seen by another as acceptable. It is a social construct.

Ethics, tend to be more localised, that is set by people connected to, or with an interest in, the ethical subject. For example, Medical staff are usually guided by a code of conduct generated by persons either connected to, or with an interest in, medical issues.

Integrity is related to deception and honesty. This concept is fairly universal.

All of these can interrelate. To this extent it may be moral to deceive someone if the intention is to protect. For instance I may lie to save my family from harm and would be morally justified in doing so even though I may be deceiving someone. However like all social constructs much is dependant on context and circumstances, and some might even argue history.

Much is also based on our personal values. If we are liberal of mind we may find a moral issue less weighted than if we were connected to a fundamentalist religion.

So asking the question, how do you know the difference between these terms and values, will be dependent on who you are, where you are and why you have developed this view.........it could take a book or two to answer that:) Equally I believe I can safely say that there is no algorithm or universal set of rules people apply to these issues other than to say follow what you believe to be right. It is my personal view you should not damage the accused in the process of making your accusation, or at the very least should minimise the damage., For instance claiming a person to be a child abuser without substantial evidence can have long term ramifications on that person even though there may be no truth in the allegation to begin with.

William Reid July 26th, 2004 11:03 AM

Re: What defines a collegue as "unethical'?
 
I like that answer, Loftus75. I might add three points that are sometimes overlooked by people reporting or concerned about professional ethics.

1. For purposes of any kind of enforcement, the ethical guidelines of organizations (such as the APA [both of them], NASW, AMA, or state professional organizations) are limited to members of those organizations, and the enforcement parameters are limited to what the organization can do to the member (e.g., kick him or her out of the organization). Ethics are not laws, and licensed clinicians who don't belong to a professional organization are not, by definition, bound by the organization's ethical guidelines (except perhaps morally).

2. In general, state licensing of clinicians is completely separate from membership in professional organizations. Thus lots of physicians who have completed psychiatry residencies and practice psychiatry are not members of the APA. (The same principle applies to other clincial professiona.) Those people may be quite ethical (or may not), but the professional organization has no "jurisdiction" over them when it comes to ethics complaints.

3. Sometimes state laws or licensing rules adopt some of the ethical guidelines of professional organizations. In those cases, everyone with a license is bound by the law, but that's because it's the law, not because it's an "ethics" matter.

Finally, just as ethics are not directly a legal/licensing concept, they are not necessarily part of malpractice law. The big exception is that "malpractice" is closely related to whether or not a clinician's practices are consistent with the "standard of care" for similar clinicians. Unethical behavior may well suggest a practice outside/below the standard.

WHR


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