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E – 1763 Ethics: Standards of Conduct for Employees

Intended Audience: All Engineers



In this online engineering PDH course, ethical standards of conduct for engineers in their role as employees are discussed. Most professional engineering societies publish codes of ethics that their members are expected to follow. These codes tend to be short and confined to statements of general principles, but in many situations a practicing engineer needs much more specific guidance than can be obtained from a statement of general principles. The Executive Branch of the Federal Government, which employs about two million civilians, has recognized the need for specific guidance on the ethical conduct of employees by issuing “Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch“—thirty-nine thousand words of regulations comprising Part 2635 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Standards apply to employees of the executive branch of the federal government (many of whom are engineers). But many of the Standards would also be of interest to private-sector engineers, who should be just as concerned as government engineers about questions of conflicting financial interests, misuse of employer’s resources, appropriateness of gift-giving between supervisors and subordinates, and the awkward situation of seeking a job with one employer while currently working for another.

Even though the Standards are written and organized to meet the requirements for citations by lawyers and judges, they are accessible to the layman, thanks to almost two hundred examples that show how the regulations apply in actual situations. A subset of the examples has been selected to make up the contents of the present course.

This course is based on the document, “Ethics: Standards of Conduct,” written by Mark P. Rossow.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to identify and discuss:

  • Standards of conduct governing gift-giving between employees
  • Standards of conduct governing conflicting financial interests
  • Standards of conduct governing impartiality in performing duties
  • Standards of conduct governing seeking other employment
  • Standards of conduct governing misuse of position

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