Are You Ethical in the Workplace?

By Nicole Salerno


Ethics is an important issue, especially in public relations. It is important to always be honest and to never infringe on a copyright or plagiarize when writing. Dishonesty and copyright infringement can lead to a tarnished image for the entire company, making clients and others in the small public relations distrust you and your work leading to a bad reputation. PRSA provides an ethics quiz on their website to make sure you’re taking all the necessary steps to avoid any ethical dilemmas. This quiz is a great tool to learn about the different types of ethical practices in the industry. After taking the quiz, here are a few things that stuck in my head:


1.     It’s so tempting and so easy, but never take a picture from the Internet without providing the source.

It is important to always provide a source when using a picture in a presentation, article or etc. This can easily be done by putting the location that you found the picture underneath the picture, at the end of a presentation or at the bottom of an article. This makes sure that you aren’t plagiarizing and if you plan to publish your work. Just to be safe – you might want to contact the photographer.


 2.     It is unethical to record a presentation or conversation without the subject knowing.

If you are plan to record a speech or presentation, make sure you inform the person speaking or company presenting that you are recording prior to the start. If you record and publish it without them knowing, you may run into some very serious legal problems.


3.     It may be obvious but don’t plagiarize!

Plagiarizing doesn’t necessarily mean copy and pasting. It can also mean stealing someone else’s idea, improperly paraphrasing, and even coping your own work. Make sure you refer back to a person or group if you take information that someone said in a lecture or presentation.


4.     What is copyright infringement?

 Things can only be copyrighted if they were written down and then someone else used the written down ideas in a published piece of work. If a person says ideas out loud and someone else decides to use these ideas in a published piece of work, it is not considered copyright. But, it can be considered plagiarism.


5.     The PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards is there to educate members or public relations professionals.

 The PRSA website is a great way to refer back to more information if you are ever confused and don’t know if you are being ethical in your job. Make sure to always be ethical and honest because it will form a good reputation for your company and clients will respect you.


To take the quiz yourself go here:

 Let us know your ethical tip and tweet them @DREAM_PR!