ITE Journal April 2018 - 19
Canons of Ethics
Be honest and impartial in dealing with
your employer, clients, and the public.
SEC. 1: The member will have due regard
for the safety, health, and welfare of the
public in the performance of professional
SEC.3: The member will not practice,
market, or promote in a false, misleading,
or deceptive manger.
SEC. 4: The member will express an
opinion on a professional subject
only when it is founded on adequate
knowledge and honest conviction.
SEC. 12: The member will undertake only
those professional assignments for which
the member is qualified. The employer or
client will be advised to engage specialists
and the member will cooperate with
them whenever the employers' or clients'
interests are served best by such an
In her new position as branch manager,
Amber wants her office to be successful.
She wants all the projects assigned to her to
be completed on time and within budget,
and to the satisfaction of her clients. She
understands she will be totally responsible
for the management of all new projects and
will be judged on their outcomes.
However, those projects that were not
completed prior to her arrival present a
dilemma. Does she approve and stamp the
plans she did not prepare, or does she buck
the wishes of her corporate office?
Many engineering firms today are managed
by corporate officials who are not professional engineers. Several firms are owned
by employees or investors and managed
by attorneys, accountants, and businesses.
However, to protect the safety, health,
and welfare of the public, engineers are
ethically responsible for their work. The
previous branch manager or a structural
engineer who worked on the bridge design
share the responsibility for the design, not
If Amber assumes the plans are satisfactory, and approves and stamps the plans,
she certainly would relieve pressure by
avoiding additional costs charged to the
project. But she also assumes responsibility for any errors or omissions on
the plans, liability for the design, and
personal sanctions for unqualified practice
of engineering where she has neither
knowledge of the design nor qualifications
for this work.
She is obligated to comply with the ethical
practices above any financial gain she
or her employer may enjoy. It would be
unethical for Amber to approve and stamp
plans prepared by her predecessor. She
must advise her employer that she will not
approve the plans.
Her employer could ask the former
structural engineer or another qualified
engineer who worked on the project to
approve and stamp the plans. A large
engineering firm could have qualified
engineers who can review and ensure the
plans and documents meet the standards.
1. It would be unethical for
traffic engineer Amber Green,
P.E., PTOE, ITE member, to
stamp plans and documents
for the structural design of a
2. Ms. Green should notify her
3. It would be best if Ms. Green's
predecessor or another structural
engineer in the company
completes the project.
4. If another engineer is not
available, the company could
subcontract the work to another
Note: The above discussion and opinions
are based on the data submitted and
do not necessarily represent all of the
pertinent facts when applied to a specific
case. The opinions are for educational
purposes only and should not be
construed as expressing ethical opinions
of individuals. The discussion and
opinions do not represent the opinion of
the Institute of Transportation Engineers
nor do they represent decisions of the
ITE International Board of Direction.
The Committee for the Ethical Forum:
W. Hibbett Neel Jr., P.E., James L. Pline,
P.E.,PTOE, James Robertson, Ph.D., P.E.,
and Richard F. Ryan, P.E.
This information is not intended or offered as legal
advice. The advice and/or situations presented in this
column are for illustrative purposes only. Always consult
your legal counsel before taking any actions or making
any decisions that would require legal input. No person
should act or fail to act on any legal matter based on the
contents of this column.
w w w .i t e.or g
Apri l 2018