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It is nice to see some interesting discussions raised on the ethics problem faced by Steve Rachel. I can add the following.
The first could be the lack of protocol in the firm in its ability to establish a framework of mentor-protégé and QA/QC relationship. Such a lack is undesirable because an EIT needs feedback as a two-way process, reviews and often guidance. I can add a little note from my own experience. My career started in a country where licensure requirement is not established. Yet as a common-sense procedure all entry-level engineers are required to go through a period of close supervision and guidance before they could advance to the next level.
The second is perhaps serious in nature because it involves the licensed engineer shouldering the liability on behalf of the firm. However, things may turn out to be not so bad, if the licensed engineer is justifiably familiar and specialized thus affording a high confidence on the performed work.
The third factor is on the general practicality of things. It is about the availability and distribution of billable hours. If the manager and the supervisor happen to be different persons, the problem may become very acute especially in tight projects. There may arise a conflicting situation between balancing the cost control and the review process. This excuse is not defensible however, and the concerned firms have the responsibility to resolve it in order to ensure the safety and soundness of their employees, products and services.
Dr. Dilip K. Barua, Ph.D, P.Eng, M.ASCE
I know of a similar situation where a EIT checked the calculations done by a more experienced engineer. Since the PE on the job assigned the work to the EIT, we can assume that maybe he is using this as a training exercise and\or maybe he knows something that we do not and\or he is 100% responsible. The moral of this story is that the PE is in responsible charge – you are not! You can sleep easy at night! You are not required to investigate; but if you do and you find something grossly negligible then you should do your due diligence and report it. In any case, I would document the concern without offending anyone, this could be done by keeping a log of your conversations. The supervisor by committee approach that seems to be prevalent today frequently results in less qualified support being available to young engineers. Rachel should ask - Am I in an environment where I am learning and gaining confidence in my design abilities?