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Multiple Relationship with RBT

Scenario

“I work in an ABA clinic and a coworker seems to have multiple relationships with a specific RBT. They spend time in the BCBA office on down time, chatting regarding personal information/situations. Other RBT’s spend their time in the designated staff break room and do not have the same access to the BCBA office as the aforementioned RBT.”

 

Committee Input (e.g., considerations for pathways forward, potential barriers, potential solutions):

This specific scenario did not outline the role of the BCBA regarding the RBT, so more information is needed to determine if an Ethics violation has potentially occurred.

If the BCBA and RBT are not engaged in a supervisory relationship and do not provide services to the same client, this may be an organizational issue about workplace culture.  If that is the case, we recommend the author speak to their workplace HR representative about the concern, and equity among technicians.  The committee also acknowledges that there is value in speaking to the BCBA directly about the situation in accordance with the Core Principles of the Ethics Codes, “Benefiting Others”.  In this sense, all BCBAs are compelled to protect the welfare of individuals they professionally interact with, consider both the short- and long-term effects of their professional activities, actively identify potential/actual conflicts of interest, and actively identify and address factors that might lead to conflicts of interest, misuse of their position or negative impacts on their professional activities.

If the BCBA is providing case supervision to the RBT, or listed as their responsible supervisor, this may be a breach of the following codes:

1.03 accountability

1.10 Awareness of Personal Biases and Challenges

1.11 Multiple Relationships &

4.04 Accountability in Supervision.

In this case, the committee recommends that the author speak to the BCBA in question to advocate for the level of supervision of technicians that is commensurate with ethical standards.

In alignment with BACB standards, the Board advises that complaints be lodged with the potential offender first to gather more information and provide an opportunity to address the response before bringing it to the level of a formal complaint.  The committee encourages the author to explore the following steps as options; this should not be considered legal employment advice:

  1. Discuss responsibilities to abstain from multiple relationships with the BCBA and administration, educating them on and outlining our ethical codes of conduct surrounding supervision standards and ethical requirements.
    1. If there is no supervisory relationship between the two, provide suggestions on organizational procedures to protect from a violation between supervisees and supervisors.
    2. If there is no supervisory relationship between the two, consider providing suggestions about making all spaces available to technicians and not disallowing RBTs from certain areas based only on their credentials.
    3. If a supervisory relationship does exist, document the discussion and concerns and provide a clear statement for follow-up.
  2. If meaningful change is not made to satisfy the ethical code of conduct, the BCBA should consider sending their letter to the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners and Behavior Analyst Certification Board if the BCBA is identified as the responsible supervisor.

 

Ethics Codes (specific standards that could apply to support/oppose):

If the BCBA is providing case supervision to the RBT, or listed as their responsible supervisor, this may be a breach of the following codes:

  • 1.03 accountability
  • 1.10 Awareness of Personal Biases and Challenges
  • 1.11 Multiple Relationships &
  • 4.04 Accountability in Supervision.

In this case, the committee recommends that the author speak to the BCBA in question to advocate for the level of supervision of technicians that is commensurate with ethical standards.

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