03 - Work Ethics and Confidentiality Manual - ClassNet

Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Co-operative Education: Pre-placement
Unit: Rights and Responsibilities
Section #3: Work Ethics and Confidentiality
Time: 1 double period
Students will be expected to:
R1 demonstrate an understanding of the school and placement expectations that they are to achieve in the
Co-operative Education course
R3 demonstrate an understanding of the issues relating to confidentiality and the right to privacy, as
outlined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy
R4 demonstrate an understanding of work ethics and the responsible use of information technology
Assessment and Evaluation Strategies:
 Analysis of “Confidentiality and Work Ethic in the Workplace” Case Studies (formative; anecdotal
Work Ethics & Confidentiality Section – Table of Contents:
1. Junior Workers Must Show They’re Willing, Reliable Article (handout)
2. Trustworthy (question sheet)
3. Rumour Clinic (group activity)
4. What Are Your Work Ethics (handout)
5. Personal and Business Ethics (handout)
6. Ethics in School – Preliminary to Ethics in Business (handout)
7. The Meaning of Ethics in Business (handout)
8. A Matter of Ethics Scenarios Assignment
9. Confidentiality Agreement (handout)
10. Confidentiality in the Workplace Case Studies (handout)
11. Confidentiality Examples in the Workplace (group activity)
12. Evaluation Checklist
Additional Resources:
You may wish to draw on student experiences from their part-time jobs.
Planning Notes:
1. Prepare handouts and overheads.
2. Review reference material(s).
 Read the material or have a classmate read to the student.
 Reduce the number of cases the students are expected to complete.
 The case studies provide opportunities for discussion of conflict between job expectations, personal
ethics and confidentiality in the workplace.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Work Ethic: Case Study Reliability
Several years ago I tried to help a young woman find work. Let’s call her Mary Setter.
After spending two years in university working toward a B.SC., Setter had decided she was in the wrong
career path. She was hoping to get a start in the business world.
I knew of a junior administrative position in a major firm. The money wasn’t great but the company
was. It had a policy of promoting from within so it was a good opportunity for Setter. She got the job.
She’d only been working for the firm for about a month when she called me to complain about her
duties—filing, photocopying, and basic accounting. The work was too menial for her. She was
overqualified, she said.
In fact, she wasn’t. Although bright, Setter had minimal experience and no accounting training.
We went over the same ground we had covered a month earlier. Lots of young people had started in
junior jobs with this firm and moved into better positions. Once she had proven herself, she could do
the same. But she had to be patient.
Concerned, I called her employer. “There are a few problems,” he acknowledged. “But I’m hoping we
can work them out.”
Three months later, he called me. Setter had been fired.
It turned out that in the four months she’d worked with the company, she had missed ten days of work
most of them Mondays or Fridays. At least twice a week she was late. Numerous times, rush jobs had
been found on her desk days after they’d been given to her. On two occasions, her supervisor had
talked to her about these problems, to no avail.
The final crunch came when it was discovered that she had photocopied several copies of her brother’s
thesis on the company’s photocopier and on company time.
With all her abilities and intelligence, Setter had a terrible attitude. She was spoiled. She claimed to
desperately want a career. But she wasn’t willing to be patient and work hard for it.
Good junior workers are a rare breed, employers tell me. Far too often, young people feel it’s their
right to step into a perfect job. If the job they land isn’t ideal, they, like Setter, don’t give their full
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Positive careers are built by those who are willing to pay their dues. Proving yourself and your abilities
on the lower levels of the business world is essential if you want to make it to the upper echelons.
When they hire or promote, employers are looking for a particular type of individual. Experience,
skills, and training play a key role, of course. But these less-definable attributes like work ethic or
attitude are equally important.
Employers use words like initiative, honesty, reliability, loyalty, and capacity for hard work when
describing the kind of attitude that impresses them. Consider what these words mean.
Employees with initiative are self-starters. They take their responsibility seriously. Once trained, they
don’t need to be told time and again what to do.
Honest employees don’t take advantage of their employers. The give “a full day’s work for a full day’s
pay”, as one employer put it. They don’t use the products or services of their employer for their
personal use.
Valued employees are reliable. Unless they are truly ill, they’re at work and on time.
Hard-working people put their full effort into their job. They do their best to see that the objectives of
the company are met.
Loyal employees don’t “move across the street for an extra 25 cents an hour,” another employer
suggested. They hang in through frustrating and difficult times. If they have criticisms, they make
them behind closed doors to management.
Good employees have a professional attitude.
Case Study Questions
1. How do you think other workers react to a worker like Mary Setter? Why?
2. What do you think was Mary’s biggest problem as a worker?
3. How could the employer have helped Mary?
4. If you were the employer and you had one piece of advice to give Mary as she was fired what
would it be?
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Name three people that you can trust:
Is there a quality about these people that allows you to put your trust in them?
How trustworthy do you see yourself? Place a checkmark () on the continuum.
Where would you like to be on the continuum? Place an (χ) on the continuum.
Not so Trustworthy
Consider your feelings on the following:
Is there a difference between telling someone a secret and gossiping?
Why are rumours spread?
What situations encourage the spreading of rumours?
Is there a difference between a rumour and a lie? Explain your opinion.
Are rumours harmful, beneficial or both? Explain.
Why does a rumour change as it is passed from person to person?
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
To illustrate some of the problems that occur in communication we are going to conduct a
“communication experiment” called “Rumour Clinic” to show additions, deletions and distortions that
occur in communication.
Purpose: To illustrate some communication roadblocks - weak listening ability, personal bias.
Group Size: Unlimited. There should be a minimum of eight (8) participants.
Time Required: 30 minutes
1. The facilitator asks for six (6) volunteers (the rest of the group remains to act as process
2. Five of the six volunteers are asked to go into the isolation room. One remains in the meeting
room with the facilitator and observers.
3. The facilitator distributes “Rumour Clinic” Observation Forms to the observers, who are to take
notes on the proceedings.
4. He then reads the “accident report” on the observation form to the volunteer who may not take
notes on what he hears.
5. The facilitator asks a volunteer in the isolation room to return.
6. The first volunteer repeats to the second what he heard from the facilitator. It is important that
each volunteer transmit the message in his own way, without help.
7. A third volunteer returns, and the second reports what he heard from the first.
8. The process is repeated until all volunteers but the sixth have had the message transmitted to
9. Then the sixth volunteer returns to the room. He is told that he is to assume the role of the
policeman. The fifth participant repeats the message to the policeman. Afterwards, the policeman
writes the message on newsprint so the group can read it.
10. The facilitator then posts the original message (previously prepared on newsprint) so it can be
compared with the policeman’s version.
11. Observers are asked to report their notes. Volunteers then discuss their experience. The facilitator
then leads a discussion with the entire group on implications of the Rumour Clinic.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Accident Report:
“The delivery truck, heading south, was turning right at the intersection when the sports car, heading
north, attempted to turn left. When they saw that they were turning into the same lane, they both
honked their horns but continued to turn without slowing down. In fact, the sports car seemed to be
accelerating just before the crash.”
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Everyone has standards which guide their conduct. These standards can be applied to your personal
and business life. Such moral standards are called your ethics. Your work ethics are, therefore, the
standards you apply to your conduct at work.
A company’s guidelines and rules encourage ethical conduct of their employees. This conduct allows
one to relate effectively to others in the workplace. For example:
Be Punctual:
Be at your work station approximately 10 minutes before starting time.
Be Time Conscious:
Take only the time allotted to you for your coffee and lunch breaks.
Before making an important business call, jot down the major points you wish to discuss. You will then
use the telephone for a minimum amount of time without overlooking anything that needs to be
An emergency is the only reason to make personal telephone calls during your working hours.
Be a Consistent Worker:
Work consistently, with or without supervision.
Be Courteous:
Treat others the same way as you would like to be treated. Your co-operative education experience is
the time to develop and cultivate the ability to get along well with other.
Be Businesslike:
Keep personal problems personal by not discussing family and friends at the training station.
The photocopier and office supplies should be used for business purposes only.
Your work area should be kept clean and tidy.
Accept responsibility for your errors. Learn how to prevent their re-occurrence rather than to hide the
Be Mature in Problem Situations:
Discuss minor problems with your training supervisor. Major problems should be directed to your
teacher monitor as soon as they occur.
Respect Confidentiality:
Accept responsibility to be entrusted with confidential facts. Investigate what information can and
cannot be disclosed.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
1. Define the term ETHICS
 Rules of right and wrong behaviour
 Codes of conduct like the Ten Commandments
 Good and bad actions
 Ways of being a good person; what good people do
 Goals of someone who is virtuous
 What you do to create a good character
 The study of right and wrong
 The basis for praise and blame
Ethics are the rules of right or wrong, good and bad. They form a system of behaviour and they
can apply to an individual, a company, or a society. “Ethics” form the basics for:
The kind of person you are
The organization you represent
The society you are a part of
Feeling guilty when you do something wrong
How we treat other people
Business Ethics refers to rules of right and wrong but with a narrower focus, providing the
standards for proper conduct by employers and employees in a business or profession.
Doing what you believe to be right is doing the right thing,
whatever the trouble or the cost!
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
School is a preparation for life. Since your work is an important part of your life, then ethics in school
leads to ethics at work. Here are ten situations where you are to decide whether the conduct is
ethical. If ethical, place an E before the statement; if not ethical, place an N. Be ready to discuss your
Your friend Joe wants to copy your homework paper. You let him.
Your friend Alice wants help with her math homework. You give her some hints to get
her started.
Arlene steals a box of paper clips from the teacher’s desk. You see her do it but do
not come forward.
Edgar set a fire in the school basement. It was caught in time, but could have caused
loss of life. You saw Edgar do it but didn’t speak up.
You get a hold of a test your teacher is giving tomorrow. You make copies for your
You get a hold of a test your teacher is giving tomorrow. You sell copies for $1 each.
You write a letter to the local newspaper critical of a recent school board ruling.
You skip school. You write a note from your father about your absence and sign his
Your teacher gives you a low mark on a test so you sprinkle tacks behind her car.
Your teacher gives you a low mark on a test so you send your mother to find out why.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Below are ten business situations. If ethical, place an E before the statement; if not ethical, place an N.
Be ready to discuss your answers.
John Jordan has two years to go before retirement age. He goes to sleep on the job
and you fire him.
You want to do business in a foreign country where cash “under the table” is a
requirement. You refuse to pay, and lose a big sale.
You get a quantity of cleaning compound containing benzene. You have some left.
Rather than leave it around, you pour it down the sewer.
A company fires employees for not meeting company ethics rules even though
there were no violations of the law.
An accountant signs a client’s tax return because he is paid to do so, even though he
knows it contains falsehoods.
A company officer learns ahead of time that profits are rising, so he hurries to buy
more company stock.
The sales rule, “Let the buyer beware,” no longer applies to all situations.
In every instance, the most important thing is to bring the highest possible return to
the stockholders.
If you can do what a majority of other companies do, you can’t go wrong.
The extent of your company’s obligation is to pay all your workers the legal minimum
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Rank the following scenarios on a scale of 1 (ethical) to 5 (not ethical). Be ready to discuss your answers.
1. Cameron works every morning at a health club from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. as written in his contract. When his
supervisor is away for meetings, Cameron leaves 15 minutes early so that he has time to eat lunch before his
afternoon classes begin at school. When the supervisor and teacher monitor refer to the logs, the hours are
always recorded from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Cameron feels it is fair to include the transportation time into his co-op
1 2 3 4 5
2. One Friday morning the work load was just so enormous that you felt you couldn't possibly get it all done.
Your boss stresses that she has a deadline to meet and asks you kindly to stay an extra half hour to get the work
completed. It would help her greatly.
1 2 3 4 5
3. Rob has a placement at the local architect's office. One of the important rules is that no plans can be shared
with people outside of the office. Wanting to get some ideas for his school project, Rob decides to bring the plans
to school to study them a little more carefully. He intends to return them the next day.
1 2 3 4 5
4. Melissa is very happy working in her accounting placement. She spends 3 hours a day at the office, most of
which is spent performing accounting or office-related duties. The remainder of the t i m e is spent running
errands for her employer. For example, last week Melissa picked up the employer's dry cleaning, purchased
coffee for the office, and picked up lunch orders for the employees.
1 2 3 4 5
5. Carlos is almost finished his work placement in a law office. While doing some routine filing, he comes across a
familiar name. He realizes that a student from his math class was charged with shoplifting last month. Knowing how
serious this information is, Carlos only decides to tell his best friend. Besides, his placement is almost finished and at
that point he won't need to follow the office regulations.
1 2 3 4 5
6. Lisa has just started her placement that began with a general orientation of the auto shop. Lisa thinks everything is
going well so far, except that the employer wants her to become familiar with all the work site rules, regulations,
and safety procedures a.s.a.p. Lisa feels this is not fair since she is only at the work site for a temporary period of time.
7. Catharine works in a retail establishment. This week the store is really busy because of its end of season
clearance sale. While ringing up a purchase on the cash register, Catherine accidentally pushes $19.79 instead of
$19.99. Voiding the transaction would take too long and Catherine has not been trained in this area. Instead she
decides to follow through with the sale. Besides, it is only 0.20 and nobody will know who rung up the sale. She
figures she’ll just pocket the 0.20 and the register will still balance.
1 2 3 4 5
8. Jake is a Co-op student working in a sport equipment store. Part of his training involves becoming familiar
with the inventory process. This involves him knowing the different codes displayed on each of the price tags.
For example, one specific code signifies the percent markup added to a piece of equipment. During one of Jake's
hockey games, a discussion comes up about where to buy quality hockey equipment. Jake recommends his Coop placement because the quality is great and the prices are fair since they only apply a 30%-40% markup on
their equipment. Jake provides some pricing examples to his team members. In addition, he says that the
prices at his placement are lower than the competition.
1 2 3 4 5
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
I, the undersigned, promise to hold in confidence all matters that come to my attention as a
cooperative education student at
(business/organization name)
This includes:
 Material from and about clients
 Matters regarding colleagues
 Confidential information regarding the business/organization
As well, I will respect the privacy of people with whom I work and confer appropriately with my
colleague(s) and supervisor(s).
I understand that I am required to act in a responsible manner with regard to any information gained
during my educational experience with the above-mentioned business/organization.
Further, I understand that a breach of confidentiality on my part will seriously compromise my
standing as a student in this program.
Student Signature:
Employer Signature:
Co-operative Education Teacher Signature:
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Confidentiality is a manner of behaving and communicating, so that information related to the
workplace is used ethically.
Confidentiality is important on the job. In most jobs, employees may be told things or they may be
working with information or people that will require them to work in confidence. It is not
appropriate to share confidential information with your teacher, your friends, your family or with
others in the company or organization who would not normally have access to that information. It is
also not appropriate to discuss confidential information with co-workers who have access to the
same information when that discussion is not part of the regular responsibilities of your jobs. Part of
being loyal to a company is to keep company secrets.
Some companies may conduct a security check on all employees including Co-op students before they
become employed. In some jobs it is so important to keep information confidential that you may be
asked to sign a confidentiality agreement form regarding all or certain aspects of your work.
Below are a variety of situations in which employees may find themselves involved. Read each of the
situations and place a check mark in the box to indicate if you feel you would discuss the situation in
the workplace and/or in your personal life.
You are working in a senior citizen’s home where
an elderly grandfather frequently enters the
corridors without being completely dressed.
Sometimes it is humourous, others times it is
embarrassing depending on what clothing he
You are working in a police station where the
father of an acquaintance is brought in for
assaulting his wife.
You are working in a drug store where the
neighbour’s son was caught stealing and the
manager of the store has called the police.
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Discuss at work
Discuss in personal life
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Confidentiality in the Workplace
In pairs, or small groups, read each of the following case studies and answer the questions. Be
prepared to share your answers with the rest of the class.
Case Study #1
Louise had her Co-op placement at the hospital’s Computer Centre. She was learning to be a data-entry
trainee. Louise was doing well at her placement and had received excellent evaluations from her
One day she was asked to assist in establishing a data bank that would include her teacher’s name,
address, phone number, age, and weight. The next day, Louise told her teacher she knew how old she
was and her weight.
As a student, what do you think of Louise’s situation? How does this example breach confidentiality?
Case Study #2
Joe’s Co-op placement is at the local hospital as a clerical support worker. When he started his
placement, he was required to sign an oath of confidentiality. By signing this oath, he agreed that he
would not reveal any information about patients’ charts.
One day, while working with the hospital clerk, he discovered that his next door neighbour was coming
in for some tests.
A friend of Joe’s mother has been considering getting the same test and wants some advice. Joe is
considering telling his mother’s friend to contact his neighbour. This would be a great opportunity for
Joe to help out his mother’s friend.
What should he do?
Case Study #3
Sandy’s Co-op placement is in a medical laboratory. She assists the lab technician conducting
pregnancy tests. Sandy discovered that one of the students in another class at her school is pregnant.
Sandy rushed back to school and told her best friend. Eventually the story got back to the pregnant
student, who is now in tears in the guidance office.
If you were a co-op student (Sandy), what consequences would you expect as a result of this
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Case Study #4
Ann Marie is a Co-op student at a local daycare and she is really enjoying her work with the children.
She has become extremely concerned though about one little girl who seems to have many
unexplained cuts and bruises and who tends to be very fearful when approached by adults. Ann Marie
is suspicious that the child is being mistreated at home. The child’s mother is a very good friend of the
daycare supervisor.
What should Ann Marie do?
Case Study #5
Debbie is a grade eleven SHSM Co-op student with a pleasant personality, a commitment to the elderly
and possesses the skills to become an excellent personal support worker. Her disposition is excellent
and she has a great sense of humour. She selected three long-term care facilities for her placement
interviews and she thought that the interviews all went very well. Debbie was not selected for any of
the positions. She feels that she was discriminated against because she is black.
What can be done in this situation, and who should take action?
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Confidentiality Examples in the Workplace
Have students group themselves in similar professions. On chart paper, have them identify issues of
confidentiality in their chosen profession. Have them rotate and add to other examples. Discuss as a
 don’t give out customer’s personal information Example: Credit card number, destination
 ruining honeymoon surprise
 stealing tickets
Personal Trainer/ Sport
 knowing someone does steroids
 knowing someone that does drugs
 someone’s weight
 someone’s sports strategies
 recipes
 payroll (tips or raise)
 bribes for the tables
 finds information about health code violation at restaurant and tells others, ruining reputation
 payment information
 personal information
 injury log
 health and safety violations
 don’t tell manager of someone’s wrong doing
 witnessed elder doing something embarrassing
 finds information about a child’s disability and tells others
 making fun
sale prices
giving discounts
if a friend/employee is getting fired-spread it
giving free products
telling friends of marked-up prices
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
Office Jobs
could reveal confidential information (salary)
taking equipment
taking valuable documents to use as references on school paper
giving gifts/bribes
Art Field
 work for an artist, working on a “masterpiece,” you tell another artist
 see someone’s art
 stealing art
Animal Care
 knowing closed information
 telling someone else that their neighbour’s pet has rabies
 when reviewing one’s history or file you my come across some information
 knowing someone has stolen drugs
 lying about customers/client files
 Giving drugs to rehab people
 Knowing someone who does not have the licence to do something in the workplace
 Piracy
 plot/ending in advance copy
 leaked out films from studios
 filming in movie
 hair dresser gossips that one of her clients has lice
 stealing products or giving discounts
 made an arrest, not allowed to leak any information about the case, tells the news station
 accused someone of shoplifting without proof
 taking money to be quiet
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Classroom Component Resource Binder
For Cooperative Education: Pre-placement
 Discussion: Reliability Case Study
 Trustworthy
 Complete Rumour Clinic Observation Form
 What Are Your Work Ethics?
 Discussion: Personal and Business Ethics Scenarios
 Confidentiality Agreement
 Case Study: Confidentiality in the Workplace
Waterloo Catholic District School Board 2011
Related flashcards
Create flashcards