This three hour seminar is a fast-paced examination of many facets of professional ethics. The seminar is in five major parts, and is designed to give participants an overview of approaches to professional ethics issues. The first section discusses the difference between personal ethics and professional ethics, using the example of covenants not to compete. Some professions’ ethical standards frown on covenants; other professions embrace them. The main objective here is to demonstrate that professional ethics are not necessarily intuitive.
The second major section reviews objective ethical standards that are embraced in four major areas: case authorities describing the obligations owed to a client; contract requirements describing obligations owed to companies; statutory duties owed to the public by virtue of licensure; and trade association standards providing the goals and standards to which members of the profession should aspire.
The third section reviews and is designed to educate participants on the ethical “hot spots,” the areas where professionals are, at least statistically, most likely to encounter difficulties. This section focuses on the recent, headline-grabbing issues of compensation and privacy of information, and also reviews enforcement statistics from various states and industry groups.
Section four addresses the use of ethics statements, both personally and on an agency-wide basis. Borrowing ethics statements and standards from a variety of industries and professions, this section is designed to instruct participants on a “best practices” approach to developing, fostering and maintaining an ethical environment.
The last section is an opportunity for participants to put to use the prior sections. Small discussion groups review actual, case-based situations to determine the best ethical resolution and decide how the controversy could have been avoided.
Presenter: Richard S. Pitts