BREACH OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
Breach of professional ethics is rarely the basis of litigation. When the interaction of two professionals or the service provided by a professional becomes the central feature of litigation, professional ethics can offer support to a case.
Codes of Conduct and Ethical Behavior direct how architects and engineers conduct themselves as professionals. There are two authoritative bodies to which professionals answer: licensing authorities and professional organizations. State licensing bodies publish Codes of Conduct that address a professional conduct regarding the public. State statute establishes their authority to issue and to also suspend or revoke a professional’s license to practice.
By contrast, professional organizations (such as, the American Institute of Architects and the National Society of Professional Engineers) have no authority over an individual’s right to practice. Their authority and sanctions are confined to membership status and a professional’s standing in the eyes of one’s peers. Codes of Ethics of professional organizations address the professional’s obligation to the public, but also address proper and ethical conduct in dealing with fellow professionals.
Issues relevant to professional ethics are:
- To which organizations or governing bodies do the professionals answer?
- Which Code of Conduct did the professional’s conduct violate?
- How did the professional’s behavior violate the Code of Conduct?
- Have the relevant professional organizations issued any rulings concerning the ethical behavior of professional?
- Has the professional ever been subjected to sanction or censure for violation of ethical behavior?