1950 AIEE Code of Ethics Updated


Principles of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (1950)

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Submitted by KBL781 on Mon, 10/24/2011 - 16:15

Share Organization: American Institute of Electrical Engineers http://www.ieee.org/index.html Source: CSEP Library http://ethics.iit.edu/3A.php Date Approved: August 4, 1950 Other Versions:

Code of Principles of Professional Conduct (1912)

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Principles of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers

Adopted by the Board of Directors, August 4, 1950

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I. Canons of Ethics Foreword

Professional Life Relations with the Public

Relations with Clients and Employers Relations with Engineers

II. Code of Business Practice Character of Enterprise with Which the Engineer Is Identified ownership of Engineering Data and Records

The Engineer's Relations to the Public and to the Engineering Profession

III. Use of Membership Designations and Institute Insignia


Being the statement developed and promulgated by the Engineers' Council for Professional Development. as a standard for all national engineering society groups.


Honesty. justice, and courtesy form a moral philosophy which, associated with mutual interest among men, constitutes the foundation of ethics. The engineer should recognize such a standard, not in passive observance. but as a set of dynamic principles guiding his conduct and way of life. It is his duty to practice his profession according to these Canons of Ethics.

As the keystone of professional conduct is integrity, the engineer

will discharge his duties with fidelity to the public, his employers, and clients, and with fairness and impartiality to all. It is his duty to interest himself in public welfare. and to be ready to apply his special knowledge for the benefit of mankind. He should uphold the honor and dignity of his profession and also avoid association with any enterprise of questionable character. In his dealings with fellow engineers he should be fair and tolerant.

Professional Life

Sec. 1. The engineer will cooperate in extending the effectiveness of the engineering profession by interchanging information and experience with other engineers and students and by contributing to the work of engineering societies. schools. and the scientific and engineering press.

See. 2. He will not advertise his work or merit in a self-laudatory manner. and he will avoid all conduct or practice likely to discredit or do injury to the dignity and honor of his profession.

Relations with the Public

Sec. 3. The engineer will endeavor to extend public knowledge of engineering, and will discourage the spreading of untrue, unfair. and exaggerated statements regarding engineering.

See. 4. He will have due regard for the safety of life and health Of the public and employees who may be affected by the work for which he is responsible

See. 5. He will express an opinion only when it is founded on adequate knowledge and honest conviction while he is serving as a witness before a court, commission, or other tribunal.

Ste. 6. He will not issue ex parte statements. criticisms, or arguments on matters connected with public policy which are inspired OF Paid for by private interests. unless he indicates on whose behalf he is making the statement

Sec. 7. He will refrain from expressing publicly an opinion on an engineering subject unless he is informed as to the facts relating thereto.

Relations with Clients and Employers

See. 8. The engineer will act in professional matters for each client or employer as a faithful agent or trustee.

See. 9. He will act with fairness and justice between his client or employer and the contractor when dealing with contracts.

Sec. 10. He will make his status clear to his client or employer before undertaking an engagement if he may be called upon to decide on the use of inventions, apparatus, or any other thing in which he may have a financial inter t.

Sec. 11. He will guard against conditions that are dangerous or threatening to life, limb. or property on work for which he is responsible, or if he is not responsible. will promptly call such conditions to the attention of those who are responsible.

Sec. 12. He will present clearly the consequences to be expected from deviations proposed if his engineering judgment is overruled by nontechnical authority in cases where he is responsible for the technical adequacy of engineering work.

Sec.13. He will engage, "advise his client or employer to engage, and he will cooperate with, other experts and specialists whenever the client's or employer's interests are best served by such service

See. 14. He will disclose no information concerning the business affairs or technical processes of clients or employers without their consent.

Sec. 15. He will not accept compensation, financial or otherwise, from more than one interested party for the same service, or for services pertaining to the same work, without the consent of all interested parties.

Sec. 16. He will not accept commissions or allowances, directly or indirectly, from contractors or other parties dealing with his client or employer in connection with work for which he is responsible.

Sec. 17. He will not be financially interested in the bids as Or of a contractor on competitive work for which he is employed as an engineer unless he has the consent of his client or employer.

Sec. 18. He will promptly disclose to his client or employer any interest in a business which may compete with or affect the business of his client or employer. He will not allow an interest in any business to affect his decision regarding engineering work for which he is employed, or which he may be called upon to perform.

Relations with Engineer

See. 19. The engineer will endeavor to protect the engineering profession collectively and individually from misrepresentation and misunderstanding.

Sec. 20. He will take care that credit for engineering work is given to those to whom credit is properly due.

Sec. 21. He will uphold the principle of appropriate and adequate compensation for those engaged in engineering work, including those in subordinate capacities, as being in the public interest and maintaining the standards of the profession.

Sec. 22. He will endeavor to provide opportunity for the professional development and advancement of engineers in his employ.

Sec. 23. He will not directly or indirectly injure the professional reputation, prospects, or practice of another engineer. However. if he considers that an engineer is guilty of unethical, illegal, or unfair practice. he will present the information to the proper authority for action.

Sec. 24. He will exercise due restraint in criticizing another engineer's work in public, recognizing the fact that the engineering societies and the engineering press provide the proper forum for technical discussions and criticism.

Sec. 25. He will not try to supplant another engineer in a particular employment after becoming aware that definite steps have been taken toward the other's employment.

See. 26. He will not compete with another engineer on the basis of charges for work by underbidding, through reducing his normal fees after having been informed of the charges named by the other.

Sec. 27. He will not use the advantages of a salaried position to compete unfairly with another engineer.

28. He will not become associated In responsibility for work with engineers who do not conform to ethical practices.


Being those principles contained in the original code of the Institute not covered by the Canons of the Engineers' Council for Professional Development.

Character of Enterprise with Which the Engineer is Identified

See. 1. It is the duty of the engineer to satisfy himself to the best of his ability that the enterprises with which he becomes Identified are of legitimate character. If after becoming associated with an enterprise he finds it to be of questionable character. he should sever his connection with it as soon as practicable.

Ownership of Engineering Data and Records

See. 2. It is desirable that an engineer undertaking for others work in connection with which he may make improvements. inventions, plans, designs, or other records, should enter into an agreement regarding their ownership.

See, 3. If an engineer uses information which is not common knowledge or public property, but which he obtains from a client or employer. the results in the form of plans, designs. or other records, should not be regarded as his property, but the property of his client or employer.

Sec. 4. If an engineer uses only his own knowledge, or information which by prior publication. or otherwise, is public property and obtains no engineering data from a client or employer. except performance specifications or routine information, then in the absence of an agreement to the contrary the results in the form of inventions, plans, designs, or other records. should be regarded as the property of the engineer, and the client or employer should be entitled to their use only in the case for which the engineer was retained.

Sec. 5. Ali work and results accomplished by the engineer In the form of inventions, plans. designs. or other records, that are outside of the field of engineering for which a client or employer has retained him, should be regarded as the engineer's property unless there is an agreement to the contrary.

Sec. 6. When an engineer or manufacturer builds apparatus from designs supplied to him by a customer, the designs remain the property of the customer and should not be duplicated by the engineer or manufacturer for others without express permission. When the engineer or manufacturer and a customer jointly work out designs and plans or develop inventions. a clear understanding should be reached before the beginning of the work regarding the respective rights of ownership in any inventions, designs, or matters of similar character, that may result.

Sec. 7. Any engineering data or information which an engineer obtains from his client or employer, or which he creates as a result of such information, may be considered confidential by the engineer; and while he is justified in using such data or information in his own practice as forming part of his professional experience. its publication without express permission is improper.

Sec. 8. Designs. data, records. and notes made by an employee and referring exclusively to his employer's work, should be regarded as his employer's property.

Sec. 9. A customer, in buying apparatus, does not acquire any right in its design but only the use of the apparatus purchased. A client does not acquire any right to the ideas developed and plans made by a consulting engineer except for the specific case for which they were made.

he Engineer's Relations to the Public and to the Engineering Profession

Sec. 10. It is desirable that the first publication concerning inventions or other engineering advances should not be made through the public press, but before engineering societies or through technical publications.

See. 11. It is unprofessional to give an opinion on a subject without being fully informed as to all the facts relating thereto and as to the purposes for which the information is asked. The opinion should contain a full statement of the conditions under which it applies.

See. 12. An engineer in responsible charge of work should not permit non-technical persons to overrule his engineering judgments on purely engineering grounds.


Sec. 13. The use of a membership designation, such as Fellow, Member. Associate. or Honorary Member, is a Purely personal privilege of the individual member. It may be used with the member's name on stationery and in any ethical professional advertising.

But a corporation, association, or firm may not itself use any membership designation because of the individual membership status possessed by a representative of a corporation. association, or firm.

Sec. 14. Insignia of the Institute, that is, any symbol such as an imprint of the hadge design, or a heading such as 'American Institute of Electrical Engineers'; should be used only for Institute business and publications. The personal use of Institute Insignia by a member should be limited to wearing an officially issued badge of the appropriate grade.