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Ethical Issues and Codes

Ethical Issues and Codes

(Updated 11/24/14)

The unique “dual client” nature of employee assistance work can complicate ethical decision-making because the EA professional always has simultaneous client responsibilities to both the work organization and the individual employee or family member.  EAPA has developed several resources to assist EA professionals and others in understanding and addressing potential EAP ethical issues.
EAP related Codes of Ethics
The EAPA Code of Ethics provides guidance regarding ethical conduct for EA professionals and defines the standards of ethical behavior for the benefit of EAP individual and work organization clients.  The code applies to all EA professionals and their activities and relationships with employees, employers, unions, professional colleagues, community, and society.
The CEAP® Code of Conduct  defines the ethical responsibilities and standards for Certified Employee Assistance Professionals (CEAPs).  All CEAPs must affirm their commitment to the Code of Conduct, and alleged violations of the code should be reported to the Employee Assistance Certification Commission (EACC) at
EAPA ethical decision-making model
To assist EA professionals in addressing potential ethical dilemmas, EAPA has developed a four-step ethical decision-making model.
  • Consider the potential ethical issues in the situation
    • What are the competing values or interests in this situation?
    • What are my personal values on this issue and which ones are in conflict?
    • What ethical guidelines (e.g. law, corporate policies, practice standards, codes of ethics) apply to this issue?
  • Consider who has a legitimate interest in this situation (i.e. what individuals or groups may be affected by the decision?)
    • Individual client?
    • Work organization?
    • Others directly or indirectly involved?
    • Society?
    • Myself?
  • Consider all the possible choices of action
    • Which choice benefits the client?
    • Which choice benefits the work organization?
    • Which choice benefits others directly or indirectly involved?
    • Which choice benefits society?
    • Which choice benefits me?
  • Make a decision
Questions about EAP ethics
EAPA’s Ethics Education Panel of experts assesses the EAP profession’s needs in relation to ethics education and identifies and promotes educational resources to meet those needs. The Panel is available to EAPA members who have concerns, questions, or comments related to ethical EAP practice in general and/or who have concerns or questions about specific ethical situations. All concerns are handled with discretion. Contact the Panel at


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