skip to Main Content

Treating Others with Compassion, Dignity, and Respect

Ethics Scenario Archive
1. Approaching Former Adult Client
2. Medical Marijuana
3. Pro Bono Work
4. Supervision Has Multiple Relationships with Family Receiving Services
5. Parent Training Concerns
6. Parents Not Implementing Procedures
7. Soliciting Parent Testimonials
8. Retaliation Towards Mandated Reporting
9. Family Rejecting Safety Measures
10. Parental Collaboration
11. Hostile Work Enviornment
12. Creating Protocol to Prevent and Treat Trauma with Limited Functional Language
13. Parent ABA Practice Questions in OT & Speech
14. Potential Gifts From Clients on Social Media
15. Helping Close Relationships With ABA Tips
16. Parent Utilizing CBD & THC
17. Client Pre-Authorization Denied For Much Needed Services
18. Supervisee Slaps Child in School Setting
19. Changing Direction of Treatment from Previous BCBA
20. BCBA Subpoenaed in Family Court
21. Terminate Services Due To Parent Behavior
22. Parents Offering Token Items During Check Out/Transition
23. Family Doesn’t Want Details Released To Funding Source Without Permission
24. Resources for IRB Approval for Independent Researchers
25. Speech Therapist Refusing To Do PECS
26. BCBA Receives Cease & Desist
27. Unlicensed, Certified BCBA Provide Supervision
28. Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)
29. Parent as Witness to Accident
30. Website Testimonials
31. Student Using Social Media Inappropriately
32. Hiring Behavior Analyst Trainees at a School District
33. College Recommendation Letter for Client
34. Connecting Families That Are Clients
35. Employer Requiring Same Number of ABA Hours for All New Clients from New BCaBA
36. Do we have any ethical guidelines regarding shared work spaces among two companies that provide similar ABA services in a private property?
37. Client Assessment & Discontinuation
38. Caseload Concerns
39. Naptime
40. Systemic Supervision Concern – Clients & RBTs
41. BCBA’s Performing Diagnostics
42. Self-Reporting DUI to BACB
43. Multiple Relationship with RBT
44. Refusal to Provide Documentation
45. Telehealth Supervision
46. Role of a Lead RBT
47. Urgent – Unsupervised RBT
48. Clinic Owner Requesting Services
49. Inadequate Case Supervision
50. Language Barrier to Services
51. Withholding Fieldwork Hours
52. Reportable Trainee Behavior
53. Treating Others with Compassion, Dignity, and Respect
54. RBT Self-Reporting DUI


On XXX, the XXX BCBA at XXX instructed the director, the managers, behavior specialists, and paraprofessionals to line up by age; the oldest on the left side of the room and the youngest on the right side of the room. We were then told to talk amongst ourselves to determine who was the oldest/youngest and to line up accordingly. The oldest employee would be positioned in the front of the line and the youngest employee would be at the end of the line. There were between 30-35 employees that were asked to do this. The end result of this Friday-morning exercise was not only humiliating to the oldest employee, but to the youngest one as well. What was the point of this? Our BCBA wanted us to see how diverse we are in age and how our age may be an indication of how we conduct our behavior support to the students

Relevant background: The BCBA started in October and replaced previously terminated BCBA 

Possible solutions: I would like to approach this with HR, but the XXX HR has not been supportive in the past.

Credentialing: Reporter self- identified as RBT, Supervisor is an LBA


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

In accordance with the Core Principles of the Ethics Codes under “2. Treat Others with Compassion, Dignity, and Respect”, BCBAs are required to treat others with equality regarding personal identifiers.

The committee recommends that the reportee review Ethics Codes 1.07 and 1.08, detailing the requirements for certified professionals as it relates to non-discrimination and maintaining an environment that supports diversity. In this situation, it seems that there is a concern with the icebreaker/group activity inappropriately highlighting aspects of the employees’ identities.

Behavior analysts have a responsibility to do their best to foster a culture of non-discrimination and adequately address concerns when there may be areas to improve upon in the workplace.

It is recommended that the reportee do the following:

  • Bring their concerns about the activity directly to the facilitator of the event, and discuss what would be helpful in the future for avoiding these types of concerns. It may be helpful to understand that while an activity or situation may appear discriminatory or ill-intentioned by one person, this may not be the perception of all involved. Discussing this with the facilitator would likely be helpful in avoiding this in the future.
  • If the facilitator is a BCBA, they have an obligation (Codes 1.07 and 1.08) to attempt to foster a non-discriminatory environment and avoid future activities in which activities could be perceived in this light to the fullest extent possible.
  • If this level of clear communication with the facilitator does not result in a ceasing of this type of activity, it is less so an issue that pertains to the Ethics Code and more so an issue of personal preference/comfort level. Attempting to bring this up with HR may be helpful if a mediator between parties is necessary to maintain a supportive employee/employer relationship (if that is what the relationship is in this situation).
  • If this is a non-required activity that is not breaking ethical codes but is uncomfortable to this person, it may be best for the reportee to simply opt out of participation in the activity and alert the facilitator the purpose if necessary.

Considerations for exploration:

This may or may not have been intended to highlight age as a defining factor in a staff member’s ability to conduct their job responsibilities. While it may have come off as a “distasteful” activity to some, it does not seem to overtly contradict an ethics code requirement. Further inquiry is recommended on the part of the reportee to address the concerns with the person in charge of developing/facilitating the activity.


Applicable Ethics Codes and ARS (identified by the committee)

  • 1.07 Cultural Responsiveness and Diversity
  • 1.08 Nondiscrimination
Back To Top