Ethical dilemmas are an inevitable part of the workplace environment, and they pose unique challenges for professionals across various industries, including human services. In the realm of human services, professionals often find themselves confronted with complex situations that require careful consideration and adherence to a strong ethical framework. This paper aims to address and resolve four distinct ethical dilemmas that may arise in the context of the Rasmussen Help Center, LLC, by utilizing research and the National Organization of Human Services Code of Ethics as a guide. Each ethical dilemma will be examined in terms of its resolution process, accompanied by discussions on potential short- and long-term consequences if not appropriately addressed.
Dilemma #2: Inappropriate Social Media Content
In the first ethical dilemma, a client at Rasmussen Help Center, LLC, shares an inappropriate picture on social media, to which a co-worker responds. To address this dilemma ethically, it is important to turn to the National Organization of Human Services Code of Ethics. According to the code, human service professionals have a responsibility to respect the dignity and welfare of clients while promoting the client’s right to self-determination (NOHS, 2019). To resolve this situation, the professional should privately discuss the matter with the client, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a professional boundary. Simultaneously, the co-worker’s inappropriate response should be addressed through internal channels.
Failure to appropriately address this dilemma could lead to severe consequences. If the client’s behavior is not addressed, it might perpetuate a culture of disregard for professional boundaries within the organization. Additionally, ignoring the co-worker’s inappropriate response might result in a compromised work environment, affecting team dynamics and trust among colleagues.
Dilemma #10: Interaction with a Former Romantic Partner
The second ethical dilemma involves a situation where a human service professional encounters a former romantic partner seeking assistance at the center. To navigate this situation ethically, the professional should refer to the NOHS Code of Ethics, which underscores the importance of maintaining confidentiality and avoiding dual relationships (NOHS, 2019). The professional should provide assistance impartially and refrain from disclosing any personal history with the client.
If this ethical dilemma is not addressed adequately, it could have significant ramifications. Failing to uphold confidentiality might lead to the breach of the former romantic partner’s trust. Moreover, if the professional allows personal emotions to influence the interaction, it could compromise the quality of assistance provided and hinder the client’s progress.
Dilemma #7: Inappropriate Gossip Among Professionals
The third ethical dilemma centers around observing a colleague engaging in inappropriate gossip with a co-worker and a client. To resolve this dilemma, the professional should turn to the NOHS Code of Ethics, which stresses the importance of maintaining professional boundaries and avoiding behaviors that could harm clients (NOHS, 2019). The observer should privately address the colleague engaging in gossip, emphasizing the potential harm such behavior could cause and encouraging a more respectful and supportive environment.
Ignoring this dilemma’s resolution could lead to a toxic workplace culture. Inappropriate gossip undermines trust, erodes team cohesion, and diminishes the professional reputation of the organization. Moreover, it may negatively impact clients by exposing them to unprofessional conduct and reducing the sense of safety they should feel within the Help Center.
Dilemma #3: Client Exchanging Money with a Professional
The fourth ethical dilemma pertains to witnessing a client exchanging money with another human service professional. In resolving this dilemma, the professional should consider the NOHS Code of Ethics, which emphasizes the importance of maintaining the client’s best interests and avoiding conflicts of interest (NOHS, 2019). The observer should report the incident to a supervisor or a designated authority within the organization to ensure transparency and prevent unethical financial dealings.
Neglecting to address this ethical dilemma properly could lead to grave consequences. If such financial transactions are allowed to continue unchecked, it may erode trust in the organization’s integrity. Clients might feel exploited or coerced into providing money for services, potentially leading to legal and reputational issues for the organization.
Ethical dilemmas are a constant presence in the field of human services, demanding thoughtful consideration and adherence to established ethical principles. By examining and resolving the four chosen ethical dilemmas in the context of the Rasmussen Help Center, LLC, this paper has illustrated the significance of applying the National Organization of Human Services Code of Ethics as a guiding framework for ethical decision-making. Properly addressing these dilemmas is crucial to maintaining a professional, respectful, and client-centered environment. The potential short- and long-term consequences of failing to resolve these ethical challenges underscore the importance of upholding ethical standards to ensure the well-being of both professionals and clients alike.
National Organization for Human Services (NOHS). (2019). Ethical standards for human services professionals. https://www.nationalhumanservices.org/ethical-standards-for-hs-professionals
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