Potential Ethical Situations

Potential Ethical Situation

Student’s Name


Potential Ethical Situation

Ethics which is also referred to as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy involving defending, systematizing and recommending concepts of wrong and right conducts that addresses disputes of moral diversity often. Philosophical investigates the best ways of humans to live and the kinds of actions that are right or wrong in certain circumstances. Related fields to ethics are moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory. Questions dealing with human morality and concepts like good or evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime are what ethics seeks to resolve. CITATION McK12 l 1033 (McKee, 2012)

There are situations that require a person or organizations to make decisions on alternatives that can be evaluated as wrong/unethical or right/ethical. The following are some of ethical situations that have been linked have led to breach of ethical principles.

Clinical Clients

Health care professionals in different delivery fields have the legal and ethical responsibility to safeguard the information regarding their clients with confidentiality and utmost care. Scholars and those who are involved in research also have the ethical and legal responsibility to safeguard the privacy of people participating in the studies and other research projects.

Clinical health workers are responsible for setting professional boundaries with for example the instances where dual multiple relationships are unavoidable. Health workers should not engage in dual or multiple relationships which might lead to risks in professional judgment being compromised or lead to the client being exploited or harmed. In this case involving Sondra who sought counseling to in order to seek help with her recent separation from her husband from social health worker martin who was also divorced, the two met weekly for approximately one month. At the end of the last therapy session when she was leaving the office, martin asked her out for lunch which she agreed to. This led into a social relationship which led to sexual intimacy. The relationship fell a part six months later and Sondra filed a complaint against Martin with the state licensing board and a negligence lawsuit alleging emotional harm. In this case, martin was in violation of principle C-Integrity. By taking advantage of the client’s situation and drawing her closely to the point of sexual intimacy, martin lacked integrity in his job as a clinical health worker. An individual who upholds integrity must ensure that he or she upholds ethics CITATION McK12 l 1033 (McKee, 2012).

Research Participants

Some of the cases that have been reported about research work to have violated human rights are: the study on 400 poor black men with syphilis who were enrolled in the study about syphilis unknowingly. They were told they were being treated for bad blood, a term used to describe several illnesses. There was no treatment for the condition at first but with the discovery of penicillin as a cure, the medicine was withheld from them because the scientists wanted to know how the disease spread and killed. That was very shameful and unethical. It was a total disregard and violation to human rights. This case is known as the Tuskegee experiment. It emphasizes on respect to persons, beneficence where people are to be treated in ethical manner. It states that research work should do no harm, maximize benefits and minimize harms. It also emphasize on justice to all for example. Exploitation of unwilling people like prisoners and minority groups of the society as research subjects is unlawful. These researchers were in violation of Principle D- Justice, which states the psychologists have to carry out their duties in regard to fairness and social equity. They ought not to have let their personal bias cloud their professional judgment CITATION Ban12 l 1033 (Banks, 2012).

Graduate Students

Another case that raised questions on students’ sensitivity on culture was when over 500 year old bones which belonged to some Ontario’s original inhabitants. The university of Louisiana State was being asked to return the stolen bones of about 200 people that were unlawfully gathered for research. These cases and several others led to the questioning or researchers on how much freedom the students had while undertaking their research. They had no respect to the culture of the Ontario inhabitants. This case was in breach of principle E- Respect for people’s rights and dignity. This principle states that psychologists should not act in a way that violates the rights and culture of the clients regardless of personal of professional opinion he may have CITATION Cor12 l 1033 (G., 2012).


To maintain professional ethics in supervisory process can be very challenging and unique. Ethical violations occurring in therapeutic relationship can be passed to the supervisory roles. Supervisory relationships can be fraught with chances of uncomfortable and inappropriate situations. For example in this case where Mary’s supervisor uses her as a confidante and openly discusses other worker’s short comings but never bother to approach the worker’s about it. May is indirectly in breach of principle B-Fidelity and Responsibility. Fidelity and responsibility requires that information from others should be kept private and confidential CITATION Edw12 l 1033 (Edwards, 2012).


Sexual involvement between a faculty member and a trainee or consultee student in unisex university USA in 2009 portrayed clearly abuse of power by a supervisor who took advantage of inequalities of working relationship. This could affect or damage the trust relationship between the teacher and the student and teachers are viewed as professional role models for their trainees. This may affect the trainee future professional behavior CITATION Edw12 l 1033 (Edwards, 2012). This is yet another case which resulted into breech of principle C-integrity.


Mc Kee, A., & Eraut, M. (2012). Introduction (pp. 1-19). Springer Netherlands.

Banks, S. (2012). Ethical issues in youth work. Routledge.

Corey, G., Corey, M., Corey, C., & Callanan, P. (2014). Issues and ethics in the helping professions. Cengage Learning.

Edwards, J. K. (2012). Strengths-Based Supervision in Clinical Practice. SAGE Publications.