Ethical and Legal Considerations

  • Briefly describe the history of the Code of Ethics as it relates to its origins, its influence on state licensing laws.

  • Identify the Golden Rule as one of the foundations upon which the Code of Ethics is built.

  • Given case studies, fact scenarios or similar interactive learning methods, identify possible violations of the Code of Ethics, specifically related to Engineering.

Questions may concern ethical problems on wide ranging topics, such as the classroom (e.g. cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g. dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g. engineering, law, medicine), or social and political ethics (e.g. free speech, gun control, etc.) However, in this topic we are restricting ourselves to the problems arising from professional ethics only.
Ethics is defined as moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.
Just as a society functions on the social codes of conduct and a country is governed by its constitution, a business is run on corporate codes. In other words, there is professional code of conduct for any business. These codes keep evolving as other things around evolve and develop. Therefore, not only should business be defined within the confines of ethics, but it should be practiced strictly under its own professional code of conduct. This distinction helps to orient the general principles of ethics and business to particular activity. The principles, however, do not change.

Solved Examples

Solved Example:

11-3-01

Relative to the practice of engineering, which one of the following best defines 'Ethics'?

Solution:
Ethics is the philosophy concerned with ways of thinking about personal values and moral judgement.

Correct Answer: C

Solved Example:

11-3-02

Study of Engineering Ethics includes:

Solution:
Study of Engineering Ethics includes all of these activities.

Correct Answer: D

Solved Example:

11-3-03

According to most Provincial and Territorial Acts, which activity by a professional member would be considered UNETHICAL?

Solution:
Most Provincial and Territorial Acts stipulate that before professionals sign plans that were not prepared by themselves or under their direct supervision, they must first thoroughly review those plans. Failing to do so means that the professional failed to comply with the Act and, therefore, was in violation of the Code of Ethics.

Correct Answer: B

Solved Example:

11-3-04

Which of the following is an example of a fraudulent, contractual misrepresentation?

Solution:
Knowingly providing false information to induce a contract is fraudulent misrepresentation.

Correct Answer: B

Solved Example:

11-3-05

Contractual disputes of a technical nature may be most expeditiously and effectively solved through:

Solution:
Arbitration provides an effective, expeditious resolution to technical disputes.

Correct Answer: D

Solved Example:

11-3-06

Which type of original work below is automatically protected by copyright upon creation?

Solution:
Of the works listed above, only a painting is protected by copyright law.

Correct Answer: A

Solved Example:

11-3-07

In order for compensation to be awarded to a plaintiff in a tort liability case, the defendant must have:

Solution:
Injury is one of three criteria that must be met for compensation to be awarded in a tort liability case.

Correct Answer: A

Solved Example:

11-3-08

The professional’s standard of care and skill establishes the point at which a professional:

Solution:
The standard of care is used to judge whether or not a professional has been negligent in the performance of services.

Correct Answer: C

Solved Example:

11-3-09

To effectively reduce liability exposure, the professional engineer or geoscientist should:

Solution:
Maintaining professional standards of practice is the most effective way of reducing liability exposure.

Correct Answer: C

Solved Example:

11-3-10

The national Society of Professional Engineers had a code, which requires professionals to:

Correct Answer: D