Engineering Ethics: Tribunal Case Study

Engineering ethics is a set of ethical standards for engineers to follow which can apply to most circumstances that arise on the job. These standards may vary depending on the jurisdiction or discipline at hand. These Engineering ethics are also the engineers’ obligations towards the public, employers, and the profession.


Ethics Case Scenario

You are a professional engineer who is working full-time in a company that manufactures sophisticated electronic products primarily for use in the automobile industry. Recently, you got contacted by one of your former classmates from engineering school who owns and operates a small company that markets golf practice aids and instructional products. Your friend tells you that the company occasionally needs a professional engineer but isn’t yet busy enough to hire one on a full-time basis and asks whether you would be interested in working for them occasionally as a part-time employee in your spare time. You think this opportunity sounds interesting and wouldn’t mind making some additional income.

(a) Assuming you have all required licenses and authorizations. Is it appropriate for you to work for your friend’s company in addition to your full-time job?

In your answer, describe the ethical issues you need to consider in evaluating this opportunity. Additionally, the specific steps you need to take before accepting it (refer to Section 77 of the O. Reg. 941).


New Device

You accept your friend’s offer. One day, your engineer friend tells you about a new device the company has been trying to invent aimed at helping golfers improve the speed, rhythm, and consistency of their golf swings. Immediately, it occurs to you that some advanced motion sensor technology developed by your full-time employer for its line of automobile sensors. (Which your full-time employer intends to patent) could also be
utilized for the golf device.

(b) Should you make use of this technology in your work on the golf device? Explain the reasoning behind your answer. (Refer to Section 77 of the O. Reg. 941).

(c) Explain how Section 72(2)(g) of Regulation 941 could apply to your answer in Question 3(b) above.

Are there any other parts of Section 72(2) that could apply to your answer?

(d) What are the consequences, if any?  Further, if you as a professional engineer do not keep your license permanently displayed in your place of business?

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