The code of ethics for any organization must include a statement regarding fair and equitable treatment for all the employees and members of the company. Most human resource departments have specific guidelines that must be followed and they are provided to the employee when they are hired. The code of conduct, as it is sometimes called, also applies to members of the organization so that they know what is expected of them at all times. The YMCA is a good example of an organization that expects a high level of professionalism and decorum. Their code of conduct specifically states that they expect their employees and members “to act maturely, to behave responsibly, and to respect the rights and dignity of others.”
With this expectation in place, the issue of worker/client boundary is clear. Any type of behavior that is contrary to their principles is quickly identified and remedied. In considering the question about gift giving, there are several possible responses. Many companies have gift exchanges over the winter holidays and in these cases, a gift is entirely appropriate. In no way are gifts acceptable for any other reason in a corporate environment. A professional atmosphere must be maintained and employer/employee relationships are not part of a sound ethical code.
As far as the question of sharing employee personal information with clients, any code of ethics discourages this type of behavior. It is contrary to the business-like atmosphere the organization represents. All contact with members should be from a professional distance while maintaining decorum and respect. Social media contact with clients is also discouraged because it interferes with the employee/client professional relationship. These standards are important because there has to be respect between the organization’s staff and clients at all times. With a strict code of ethics, a human resource department ensures that there is a professional standard that is maintained at all times to prevent crossing employee/client boundaries. This is the basis for long term success of any organization.
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