Ethics in Relation to Friends

About Forums Case Discussions Ethics in Relation to Friends

Viewing 3 posts - 16 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Author
  • #277

    1. When dealing with this situation, the first thing I would do is reference the organizations policies regarding client confidentiality, as well as any other policies that may be applicable to this case. I believe that dealing with this topic internally is often not a breach of confidentiality and so if this is true, I could approach my friend who was allegedly involved with a client and ask her about what happened. There is a possibility that the relationship never occurred as well as the relationship having occurred before my co-worker was employed. Despite this, I believe the most ethical thing to do is approach the supervisor and inform her of the facts. It is not my place to consider the ethical dilemmas of this situation and I would not want to end up on one side or the other. Thus, leaving this case to the supervisor would be the most respectful in terms of client confidentiality.

    2. I would keep in mind that it is still an alleged allegation. I would refrain from discussing the case with my friend as I would be most concerned with keeping client confidentiality. Although this person is a friend of mine, I cannot ignore her decision to become romantically involved with a client. It is not my place to judge, and thus I would do my best to not let the allegations stifle my professional relationship with her. I think that this situation must be addressed and understand that decisions that are made are not intended to hurt my co-worker, but are made to create an environment that is most fitting for our clients.

    3. The fact that the relationship is no longer occurring is a good thing, but the fact that it happened in the first place is the real problem. If the parties involved were also involved with the organization at the time of the incident, then that is the issue that is being dealt with. You would not ignore a sexual allegation that occurred a year ago just because time has passed. When the incident comes to light, then that is the time you begin to address it.

    4. I think that the factor of addictions could play a role in my initial reaction to the situation. I also think that the client confessing to the incident under the influence could make some more concerned about his credibility. That being said, I would not change anything about the way I approach this situation described previously. I understand that working in this field over time may desensitize someone to negative behaviors some clients may exhibit. However, this person still deserves the same treatment as any other person with these allegations.

    5. Being a casual worker may make me feel less important that full time workers. It also may make me feel less inclined to share this information because I would not want to “stir the pot” as I may feel more distant from the organization than those employed full time. I have less knowledge than my co-workers who have been employed longer, which is why I would choose to go to my supervisor first rather than make a mistake and preach the policies of the organization. In the past, I have let my own feelings towards my seniority affect my work environment, and the only outcome of this was demeaning myself. Therefore, I would try to disregard my position and keep a proper mindset of the ethical ways to proceed.


    1. When considering client confidentiality, it is important to try and keep this preserved as much as possible. I would argue that the worker accused of the sexual relationship, if true, is responsible for breaking the clients confidentiality in part of their actions. As social workers we are the tools to bring about change and to do something that goes directly in violation with our mandate is something that cannot be left unaddressed. I would take extra care to keep the service users confidentiality a priority. If my friend was released from her position, I would advocate that the details surrounding her departure were not made known to the other staff. Management should be the only other parties involved. Supervisors are often consulted when working with clients to ensure they receive the best care possible. I see this situation as being no different.

    2. While the worker is a close friend, I do not believe that should be given any priority over the ethical violations that have been crossed.

    3. While the relationship is no longer in existence, it can and likely will impact future relations between my friend and the service user. It would not change the importance in bringing up this issue, but the fact that the relationship ended some time ago could be seen as a reason for the worker to keep their job. Regardless, that decision is not mine to make.

    4. I do not consider his addiction as impacting my stance on this issue. While some may question his credibility while saying these things under the influence, in my experience many people are more forthcoming and honest while intoxicated. Whatever the case may be, we cannot disregard the statements made simply because the service user was using substances at the time.

    5. I think being a casual worker influences what I might feel I can do simply because I could be considered as “lower on the totem pole”. I may not know important information surrounding these instances, perhaps the issue was already addressed by management? I may have insecurities around only being a part time worker and feel that someone with a full time position should be addressing this. Regardless of my own beliefs and insecurities I think it is important to acknowledge that none of these feelings should influence how I address the situation. The allegations were serious and failure to report could end up with my job on the line.


    1. How would you deal with this situation when taking into consideration client confidentiality?
    – in order to deal with the situation i would need to have a better understanding on what the organizations policy was for client confidentiality. A lot if the time within agencies staff are allowed to discuss clients with supervisors to debrief on certain situations. If this were the case it would be okay for the staff to discuss this with a supervisor, but to not discuss it with anyone else, specifically outside of agency doors.
    2. How would you deal with this situation while keeping in mind that it is your own friend that is being accused of having had a sexual relationship with your client?
    I am an avoidant person and I do not like confrontation in my personal life, therefore I believe that it would not be difficult for me to keep this information away from my friend. It would be my responsibility to report this to my supervisor and i would follow the code of ethics and confidentiality in regards to discussing this matter farther. I may however distance myself from that friend as I do not believe their actions were good and they may have caused significant harm to their clients as they sit in a position of power within that agency when compared to the clients who are seeking treatment.
    3. Does the fact that this is no longer occurring change what you would want to do about it?
    No, I don’t believe so because just because its not happening to that client it could potentially be happening to other clients and I would not want to out my clients at risk of staff crossing boundaries and abusing their power or authority within the agency. It is supposed to be a safe place and things like this must be reported for client safety. Particularly in an agency where clients may have mental health issues or experiences of trauma.
    4. Does this client’s addiction influence the stance you would want to take -given that there could be questions of his credibility?
    I would take any accusation a client said to me credibly until proven otherwise. If as service providers we ignored accusations based on clients who have addictions then we would not be doing our duty to support them and provide anti oppressive care for them.
    5. How if at all does being a casual worker change what you would want to do or feel you could do?
    I feel that being a casual worker may make it somewhat easier to report as you are handing it off to your supervisor to deal with and would not be involved in the process much at all. I have a position within an agency supporting adults with disabilities and the responsibilities and stress level dramatically increase once you are contracted staff or maintain a position.

Viewing 3 posts - 16 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.