TAGS: counseling, case study, ethics, principles
Scenario: The following inquiry was posted to a 1,000-person networking site, listserv, or other online forum (hereafter referred to as a “group”) for counseling professionals:
“I am working with a 54-year-old Latina client who is attempting to identify career options. Her previous work history includes:
She has an undergraduate degree in communications and media (1981) and is completing her master’s in English. Her thesis and area of greatest interest currently is in media literacy. It deals with educating the public about the impact media has on us, particularly the influence of violence.
Here are the “kinks” in helping her explore her options:
I would love suggestions of positions she might pursue in the public relations/media/ journalism/mediation areas that would accommodate her disabilities.”
Analysis: A career services professional shared detailed client information seeking advice on career options. The professional shared confidential information, including that the client is a member of a protected class, her gender, her age, and that she has a disability. We assume that the professional did not get permission from the client to present her case to the listserv.
Groups, while often restricted in membership, are in the public domain.
Principles: Principle 5 first states, “Protect confidentiality of all personal information related to candidates and their interviews, and their engagement with services, programs, and resources,” and secondly, “protect confidentiality of student information related to professional plans.”
Options for Resolution: Principle 5 is very clear when it states that personal information of students is to be protected.
First of all, the career services professional posting this case should be informed that their action is addressed in the NACE Principles for Ethical Professional Practice, specifically Principle 5. He or she should be made aware of different alternatives that should be followed to avoid this breach of client confidentiality. They include:
Counselors should be reminded that information shared on listservs and other electronic media should be considered public information. Clients should always be consulted before a career services professional seeks advice on their case and should be informed of the rights to confidentiality.
The client should be informed about the breach of confidentiality and given a copy of the “Playing Fair” article. He or she needs to be assured that this breach of confidentiality is being taken seriously and steps have been taken to prevent this from happening in the future. The counselor should consider posting the “Playing Fair” article in the career services office so that students are made aware of their rights.
Posted June 2017.
Median number of career center staff
Median number of students to professional staff
Median square footage of career services office
# of organizations participating in career fairs (median)
Percent of career services offices offering academic advising
2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Survey