In human services, a worker will often justify breaking a rule or policy by saying they did it for the patient.  These situations can involve significant boundary or ethical violations.  There seems to be no end to what a worker believes is justifiable simply by glorifying the intention.  It’s similar to the story of Robin Hood that makes stealing alright  because the goods stolen are given to someone determined to be more worthy.  Bonnie and Clyde are folk heroes even though they robbed and killed simply because they were young and in love.  Our society operates in a similar fashion by justifying taking money by force from someone who earned it and is prospering from their own efforts and giving it to someone who “needs it”.   The “have-nots” are determined to be entitled to the “haves” goods without respect for how the “haves” actually acquired those goods.  It’s automatically assumed that if someone needs or wants something that someone else has then they are entitled to it if the other person is, in any way, better off than they are themselves.  By the same logic, if a person in a work setting is capable of satisfying a service-users want or need then, by any means possible, they should do so.  If stealing from the company benefits a client some wrongly believe it’s okay to steal.  If using protected access to information or resources helps someone who asks you to bend the rules for them then how can you refuse you may wonder?  Why is it alright to do something universally wrong (taking something that does not belong to you or murder) simply because of the reason behind it?  This is faulty logic (that doing something wrong is excused if your reason is good enough).  The common component in many (if not all) ethical violations in the work place is the idea that doing the wrong thing is justifiable.  I have seen many good professionals lose their job and even their license by wrongfully thinking they can get away with something as long as the client or patient benefits from the deed.  While many do decide to violate a policy for the good of a patient, they, are also responsible for the consequences that may result.   This seems to be a surprise to those called to account.  A good reason does not change a wrong.   In all situations, it is better to strive to do the right thing for the right reason if at all possible.  If it’s not possible then at least do the right thing for the wrong reason.  Either way, do the right thing.  “Situational ethics” is dangerous ground and should be treaded on lightly.  While ethics does seem to change on a whim, real morality does not change.  The moral thing is the right thing is all situations.  Therefore, leaning on morality rather than subjective or personal ethics may be the better way to make decisions in the workplace.


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