Margdarshak’s mission is to promote the delivery and development of quality services that enable informed educational, training and occupational choices, and career development of students and adults. Effective career education is founded on a framework of theoretical knowledge and continuously developed career skills within the following framework:
Career Professionals are engaged in a wide spectrum of activities in many fields. They work in a wide range of organisational settings and provide services and programs to a diverse population. This Code of Ethics is intended as a platform for the Indian standards and guidelines for career professionals. The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to provide a practical guide for professional behaviour and practice for those who offer direct services in career development. Ethical principles help career professionals to make thoughtful decisions to resolve ethical dilemmas. The Code of Ethics when combined with the Indian Standards and Guidelines for career development will protect the consumer and the public when receiving the services of career professionals.
Client: means the person(s) to whom the career professional provides services. This may include students, adults, individuals, groups, classes, organisations, employers and others.
Customer: means the person(s) or organisation that is paying for the career development service. A customer may or may not be the client.
Field: refers to professionals involved in career management services.
Knowledge/Skills/Competency: Career professionals’ value high standards of professional competence and ensure they can offer high standards of professional knowledge, skills and expertise.
Self-Improvement: Career professionals are committed to the principle of lifelong learning to maintain and improve both their professional growth and the development of the field in areas of knowledge, skills and competence.
The Boundary of Competency: Career professionals recognise the boundaries of their competency and only provide services for which they are qualified by training and/or supervised experience. They are knowledgeable of and arrange for appropriate consultations and referrals based on the best interests of their clients.
Representation of Qualifications: Career professionals do not claim nor imply professional qualifications or professional affiliations that may imply inaccurate expertise and/or endorsement. Career professionals are responsible for correcting any misrepresentations or misunderstandings about their qualifications.
Marketing: Career professionals maintain high standards of integrity in all forms of advertising, communications, and solicitation and conduct business in a manner that enhances the field.
Relations with Institutions and Organisations: Career professionals assist institutions or organisations to provide the highest calibre of professional service by adhering to this Code of Ethics. Career professionals will encourage organisations, institutions, customers and employers to operate in a manner that allows the career professional to provide service under the Code of Ethics.
Respect for Persons: Career professionals respect and stand up for the individual rights and personal dignity of all clients. Career professionals do not condone or engage in sexual harassment. Career professionals promote equality of opportunity and provide non-discriminatory service. Clients who fall outside the mandate of an organisation should be referred to appropriate services.
Abide by the Code of Ethics and central, state and local laws: Career professionals abide by all of the by-laws outlined in this Code of Ethics and comply with all relevant central/state/local legislation and regulations.
Career professionals inform others (such as colleagues, clients, students, employers, and third-party sources) about the Code of Ethics and relevant laws as appropriate and any mechanisms available if violations of the Code of Ethics or laws are perceived to have taken place.
Career professionals take appropriate action to try to rectify a situation if ethical, moral or legal violations are perceived to have taken place by a colleague, whether a career management professional or not.
Use of Information and Communication Technology: Career professionals using information and communication technology which involves a client and service provider who are in separate or remote locations are aware that all aspects of the Code of Ethics apply as in other contexts of service provision.
Career professionals provide clients with relevant information about themselves, as is appropriate for the type of relationship and service offered.
Integrity/Honesty/Objectivity: Career professionals promote the welfare of clients by providing accurate, current and relevant information.
Career professionals assist clients to realise their potential and respect clients’ rights to make their own informed and responsible decisions
Career professionals are aware of their values and issues and avoid bringing and/or imposing these on their clients.
Confidentiality: Career professionals respect the privacy of the individual or third-party referral source and maintain the confidentiality of information as is appropriate for the type of relationship and service offered.
Career professionals will inform clients and customers of the limits of confidentiality.
Career professionals offering services in a group, family, class or open setting (such as a Career Development Centre) take all reasonable measures to respect privacy.
Career professionals are cautioned that the issues of confidentiality apply to the use of information and communication technology, e.g., voice mail, faxes, e-mail
Releasing Private Information: Career professionals release confidential information in the following circumstances:
(a) with the express permission of the client
(b) where there is clear evidence of imminent danger to the client*
(c) where there is clear evidence of imminent danger to others*
(d) where required by law, such as in reporting suspected child abuse or upon court order
(* When the situation allows, action should be taken following careful deliberation and consultation with the client and other professionals. The client should be encouraged to take personal responsibility as soon as possible.)
Career professionals attend to privacy and security in the maintenance and release of all records, whether records are written, on audiotape, or videotape, computerised or electronically stored.
Informed Consent: Career professionals honour the right of individuals to consent to participate in services offered, dependent upon the rights the individual does have.
Career professionals fully inform clients as to the use of any information that is collected during the offering of service. Career professionals ensure that information collected will only be used for its intended purpose or obtain the consent of clients for any other use of the information
Career professionals inform clients and customers about the types of service offered and the limitations to service, as much as is reasonably possible given the type of service offered, including information about the limits to confidentiality, legal obligations, and the right to consult with other professionals.
Career professionals who work with minors or dependent individuals who are unable to give voluntary, informed consent, take special care to respect the rights of the individual and involve the parents or guardians wherever appropriate.
Multiple Relations: Career professionals are aware of the ethical issues involved in having personal relationships with clients. Career professionals avoid having conflicting relationships whenever possible. If such a relationship cannot be avoided the career professional is responsible to monitor the relationship to prevent harm, ensure that judgement is not impaired and avoid exploitation. To this end, career professionals utilise informed consent, consultation, supervision and full disclosure to all parties involved.
Conflict of Interest: Career professionals avoid and/or disclose any conflicts of interest which might influence their professional decisions or behaviours. Career professionals do not exploit any relationship to further their personal, social, professional, political, or financial gains at the expense of their clients, especially if the situation would impair the career development objectivity.
Career professionals work to resolve any conflicts of interest with all parties involved giving priority to the best interests of the client.
Consultation:Career professionals reserve the right to consult with other professionally competent persons ensuring the confidentiality of the client is protected.
Respect for other Professionals: Career professionals make full use of the resources provided by other professionals to best serve the needs of the client, including professional, technical, or administrative resources. This means understanding and respecting the unique contributions of other related professionals. Career professionals seek to avoid duplicating the services of other professionals.
As career professionals have a responsibility to clients, they also have a responsibility to fellow service providers.
When a complaint is voiced about other service providers or inappropriate behaviour is observed, the career professional will follow the appropriate channels to address the concerns.
Ethical Decision-Making Model
This is a model of ethical decision making to complement the Code of Ethics developed for the Indian Standards and Guidelines for career development. This model is offered to assist career professionals with a process to follow and with cues, such as emotional reactions, which may assist in making better ethical decisions and resolving ethical dilemmas.
Steps in Ethical Decision-Making
1. Recognize that an ethical dilemma exists.
An emotional response by a career professional is often a cue to the need to make an ethical decision, such as feeling uneasy about a situation, questioning one’s self or the actions of a client, or feeling blocked or uncomfortable in a situation with a client or colleague.
2. Identify the relevant ethical issues, all of the parties involved, and the corresponding pertinent ethical principles from the Code of Ethics.
The career professional can check his/her feelings of discomfort and what these may tell about the situation. The feelings of the client or a third party involved in the dilemma could also be explored. In some situations, following one of the Codes of Ethics will offer enough guidance to resolve the situation. In situations where more than one Code is relevant or there is more than one course of action, the career professional will need to proceed further with this model.
3. Examine the risks and benefits of each alternative action.
The examination should include short-term, on-going and long-term consequences for each person involved, including the professional, when more than one Code of Ethics is relevant or alternative courses of action seem to be suggested by the Code of Ethics. In such situations gathering additional information and consulting with a trusted colleague is highly recommended.
The career professional can check his/her emotional reactions to each solution and those of others involved in the decision. The career professional also needs to determine if he/she has allowed enough time for contemplation of the situation. Projecting the various solutions into the future and envisioning the possible scenarios as each decision is enacted can be helpful.
4. Choose a solution, take action and evaluate the results.
The career professional needs to act with commitment to one of the solutions, checking that the solution continues to feel the best that can be done in the situation, for all involved. The professional will need to assume responsibility for the consequences of the decision and be willing to correct any negative consequences that might occur as a result of the action taken. This means determining that the outcome feels right and re-engaging in the decision-making process if the ethical dilemma remains unresolved.
5. Learn from the situation
The career professional will examine each ethical situation to consider the factors that were involved in the development of the dilemma and to see if any future preventative measures could be taken. Examining what he/she has learned from the situation and how the experience might affect future practice are also important activities for the career management professional.
Career Professional’s Code of Ethical Practices
(a) I will bring the highest standard of knowledge and skill to my professional career services practice.
(b) I am committed to personal and professional development and seek to be knowledgeable of best practices in this dynamic and changing field.
(c) I will make information available about my qualifications, including providing an updated and accurate profile, as requested.
(d) I will provide only those services in which I am competent, seeking expert advice when necessary and referring clients appropriately.
(e) I will use only proprietary instruments in which I have been trained and certified. I will not violate copyright laws and will adhere to published administration guidelines.
(f) I will explain fully to clients, in advance, the services I will provide. Changes to service arrangements will be made with the full knowledge and agreement of the client.
(g) I will provide full disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest in the course of my professional practice.
(h) I will not take advantage, including financial, of any information provided to me through my professional relationship with customers.
(i) I will defend the individual rights and personal dignity of all clients. I will fully respect a client's right to make decisions about career and life, without imposing my values or beliefs.
(j) I will appreciate diversity whether it is language, colour, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or political belief. No preferences will be shown, nor business accepted or declined, based on discriminatory practices.
(k) I will obey all laws in my jurisdiction. I will take a proactive stance to rectify any situations where laws or ethics have been violated.
(l) I will respect client privacy and confidentiality.
Note: The exception is the threat to personal safety or safety of others. In this case, it is ethically correct to share a minimum of confidential information.) I will strive to protect client information from being saved or sent electronically.