Making Ethical Decisions

Exercise 2.2 Making Ethical Decisions

Review the situations below, and then using the moral principles identified in the chapter, Corey’s models of ethical decision-making, and your knowledge of legal and professional issues decide on your probable course of action. Share your answers with the rest of the class.

Situation 1: A graduate-level mental health professional with no training in career development is giving interest inventories as she counsels individuals for career issues. Can she do this? Is this ethical? Professional? Legal? If this professional happened to be a colleague of yours, what, if anything, would you do?

Situation 2: During the taking of some routine tests for promotion, a company learns that there is a high probability that one of the employees is abusing drugs and is a pathological liar. The firm decides not to promote him and instead fires him. He comes to see you for counseling because he is depressed. Has the company acted ethically? Legally? What responsibility do you have toward this client?

Situation 3: An African-American mother is concerned that her child may have an attention deficit problem. She goes to the teacher, who supports her concerns, and they go to the assistant principal requesting testing for a possible learning disorder. The mother asks if the child could be given an individual intelligence test that can screen for such problems, and the assistant principal states, “Those tests have been banned for minority students because of concerns about cross-cultural bias.” The mother states that she will give her permission for such testing, but the assistant principal says, “I’m sorry, we’ll have to make do with some other tests and with observation.” Is this ethical? Professional? Legal? If you were a school counselor or school psychologist and this mother came to see you, what would you tell her?

Situation 4: A test that has not been researched to show to be predictive of success for all potential graduate students in social work is used as part of the program’s admission process. When challenged on this by a potential student, the head of the program states that the test has not been shown to be biased and the program uses other, additional criteria for admission. You are a member of the faculty at this program. Is this ethical? Professional? Legal? What is your responsibility in this situation?

Situation 5: An individual who is physically challenged and wheelchair bound applies for a job at a national fast-food chain. When he goes in to take the test for a mid-level job at this company, he is told that he cannot be given this test because it has not been assessed for its predictive ability for individuals with his disability. You are hired by the company to do the testing. What is your responsibility, if any, to this individual and to the company?


Neukrug, Edward S.. Essentials of Testing and Assessment: A Practical Guide for Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists, Enhanced (p. 37). Cengage Learning. Kindle Edition

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