First-Hand:Elden, W.L., "SHOULD EXEMPTED ENGINEERS IN INDUSTRY BE EXPECTED TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC WHEN THEY THEMSELVES ARE LEFT UNPROTECTED?"

From ETHW

NOTEː An Audio file of my remarks will be inserted here as it develops.[edit | edit source]

INTRODUCTION[edit | edit source]

I set out to develop material which would be used to prepare college engineering students for the real world when they work in industry.

PROVIDE LEGAL SUPPORT TO INDUSTR Y ENGINEERS IN ETHICAL CONFLICTS

From our exchanges here are a couple summary conclusionsː

  1. Under the FS471 Industry Exemption in Floridaː

a. A P.E. employed in industry is subject to discipline if the Code of Conduct is breached, then the Board may take action

b. A P.E. employed in industry is subject to discipline if, under the Code of Conduct, he/she fails to protect the public as a result of his/her own action; but if the cause for this choice is fromzn employer pressure, coercion, threat of demotion or being fired, etc, the Board can not take action against the employer under FS471.

EXEMPTED ENGINEERS IN INDUSTRY PRACTICE

FACE PROTECTING THE PUBLIC

VAST NUMBER OF ENGINEERING GRADUATES WILL PRACTICE IN INDUSTRY AS EMPLOYEES UNDER 1800’s “AT-WILL LEGAL PRINCIPLE”

    • May be fired for any reason; just or unjust, or color of eyes

    • New “Public Interest” principle is chipping away at that practice, however

      -Exceptions are being raised if found not to be in “Public Interest”

      -A need exists to get established that exceptions exist “when engineers attempt to protect the public from design faults, etc” even if conflicting with their Management


If Engineering is to be held responsible for its “paramount duty to protect the public safety,”then the public must provide engineers equal protection from the At-Will Practice which permits their being fired for any reason; just or unjust under At-Will law

  -Industrial Exemptions need to be eliminated

  -Engineers in Industry need to become licensed PEs

    -State PE Boards need to be empowered to provide legal Ethical Support to Engineers when facing loss of employment for acting to protect the public

  -Need to build upon the IEEE legal argument in its 1975 BART Amicus Curiae brief aimed at an Implied Contract Term protecting employed engineers under at-will

    • Pursue legislative and court paths to strengthen Engineers’ practice rights and protections against At-Will practice to fire

  -Explore what role local NSPE Chapter may play in providing Ethical Support to Engineers in need

  -Explore what could be accomplished by joining with other Engineering organizations, ex: ASME, etc,  to achieve common goals of protection under at-will employment

  -where Engineering societies do not provide Ethical Support, work to amend Society’s Constitution to get it established as a permanent right

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FACTORS FOR REWARDING OF INDUSTRY MANAGERS’ PERFORMANCE

  • Develop new business; get orders, create new projects
  • Complete and ship projects; make sales, generate revenue
  • Enhance the business; produce profits

PRIMARY LEGAL CONSIDERATION IN ENGINEERING PRACTICE IS “THE PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC”

    • IEEE BART Case legal argument

    • Principles were the same in Edgerton, Castro and other cases of firing engineers

    • Need to establish a “Landmark Case”; the BART Case was not as it was settled out of court

PROFESSIONAL LICENSING OF ENGINEERS

    • Came into practice in Wyoming” in early 1900’s to protect the public from faulty designs injuring the public

    • Eventually all jurisdictions established PE Licensing laws

    • Here in Florida it is FL 471 and a PE Board administers it

    • But then, business interests got engineers in industry exempted from requirement to be licensed PEs on the premise that the Company would take responsibility for faulty designed products

NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF EXEMPTING INDUSTRY ENGINEERS

  • Motivation to become licensed is removed, so vast numbers of industry engineers  remain unlicensed, even today
  • Treated by industry almost as just another worker
  • Causes some of those engineers to lack sensitivity to practice as professionals
  • So today Mechanisms for getting ethics advice and ethical support are missing when ethical conflicts arise
  • Results of this, therefore, under “At-Will” practice, can be firing of engineers

INDUSTRY ENGINEERING NEEDS ETHICS SUPPORT MECHANISMS FROM PRACTICE SOCIETIES

    • Intra Company OMBUDSMAN Service for mediating issue conflicts

        - Access to Ethics Advice

        - Receive Ethical Support

        - Read WIN-WIN case example

    • Intra Profession Service like IEEE had

        - Access to Ethics Advice

        - Access to Ethical Support

    • Intra State PE Board Service ( Probably will need to be created)

        - Access to Ethics Advice (Local PEI Chapter might perform this)

        - Access to Ethical Support (Local PEI Chapter might perform this)

ETHICS ADVICE SERVICES

    • Conflict Resolution alternatives (IEEE’s Sloan/Elden proposal is a model)

ETHICAL SUPPORT SERVICES

    • Issue Written Private and Public support reports

    • OMBUDSMAN issue reports on findings inside Company for resolve issues (can remain private then)

    • Bring Discipline Cases against faulted Supervisor, when a member of an Engineering or Business Society

    • Enter Amicus Curiae briefs in legal cases (IEEE ‘s BART Case is example)

    • State PE Board enter or act on legal case

A NEED EXISTS TO COLLABORATE WITH THE OTHER SOCIETIES TO LEARN WHAT THEIR PRACTICES ARE IN THIS AREA

    • Establish liaison with other societies, exchange info on their own practices and policies

      • Seek creating a common approach to Ethics Advice and Ethical Support

ISSUE EDUCATIONAL AIDS ABOUT CASES

    • Cite and publish papers about

real and hypothetical cases and lessons which can be learned

COLLABORATE WITH LOCAL, STATE AND NATIONAL “ PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS IN INDUSTRY (PEI)” PRACTICE BODIES OF NSPE AND STATE PE BOARDS

    • Work to bring them on-board to work jointly on common objectives

WORK ACROSS OTHER ENGINEERING SOCIETIES ON COMMON GOALS

  • Ex with ASCE, ASME, etc

  • Share and Learn what other Engineering Societies have/are doing

  • Motivate to join in common goals

EDUCATE AND PREPARE STUDENT MEMBERS FOR REAL WORLD SITUATIONS, NEEDS

    • Conduct seminars, give talks, address local Student Classes, plus Chapters and Local Sections of Societies; issue papers

STRESS WIN WIN TO BE  A TEAM OBJECTIVE WHEN ENGINEERS RAISE ISSUES ENDANGERING THE PUBLIC OR EMPLOYER’S FINANCIAL BOTTOM

WHAT LEGAL RIGHTS DO LICENSED AND UNLICENSED ENGINEERS HAVE WORKING IN INDUSTRY

A. Under At-Will Practices Without a Contract

1. Established Public Policy exceptions to the Contrary

B. With a Legal PE State license (nullifying At-Will?)

  1. As seen by:

        a. NCEES Principles for PEs

        b. State Code of Practice for PEs

        c. State PE BOARD

        d. State PE Society

        e. Laws and Legal Rulings/Amicus Curiae like the BART Case of IEEE