Employment of Former Convicted Engineer (adapted from NSPE Case No. 78-2)


This is an open-ended scenario for discussion based on a case from the NSPE Board of Ethical Review. A local company wants to hire a convicted engineer who is in prison for illegally receiving funds from the governmental program.


Smith Jones was head of a state agency that administered a large public works program. He was sentenced to prison because he established a fake agency within the state to receive funds from the program, and those funds were channeled into the personal accounts of Smith Jones. As a result of his actions, the state registration board revoked his licenses.

Now nearing the last month of his prison term, Smith Jones has qualified for a work-release program under state law where he is permitted to work during the day. An engineering firm, located in the area of the prison, is interested in hiring Smith Jones as a technician.

Under the conditions stated above, should this engineering firm hire Smith Jones?

NSPE Code of Ethics An earlier version may have been used in this case.

. . Employment of Former Convicted Engineer (adapted from NSPE Case No. 78-2). Online Ethics Center. DOI:. https://onlineethics.org/cases/professional-ethics-engineering-practice-discussion-cases-based-nspe-ber-cases/employment.