After reading Nickel and Dimed and reviewing the NASW Code of Ethics I found a few parts of the code of ethics Ehrenreich did not follow. I believe she was in breach of privacy and confidentiality, dishonesty, fraud, and deception, and integrity. Privacy and confidentiality is a very important aspect of social work. Although Ehrenreich changed the names of her coworkers and places she worked at, she still disclosed private information about them they may not have wanted the entire world to know. Everyone has a right to privacy which Ehrenreich did not grant her coworkers who disclosed information to her with that right. Dishonesty, fraud, and deception is another part of the code of ethics and I believe she violated all of these. Ehrenreich pretended to be in need of a low-wage job. There are millions of people who actually needed that job and lost the opportunity when she took it, only to leave a few short weeks later. She also fooled everyone around her into thinking she was a completely different person. I did some further research and discovered Ehrenreich admitted on her blog, “to ease my guilt about the deception, I always “came out” to the co-workers I was closest to before leaving a job” (Ehrenreich 2006). So, although she knew she was deceiving everyone in her new life, it was ok as long as she told them right before she left.
Ehrenreich (2002) describes the complete lack of sympathy for her from a homeowner when she was scrubbing the floor of her home (p. 72). The working poor are often treated by others in a hostile manner because they are unable to identify with them. A social worker must play the role of an enabler to keep the worker going even after they get put down by other social classes. The social worker has to help their client gain the ability to cope with situations or stress.
Another role a social worker must take on is the role of a broker. A broker will help link the working poor client with community resources and services. This
Cited: Ehrenreich, B. (2002). Nickel and dimed. New York: Holt Paperbacks.
Ehrenreich, B. (2006, October 09). Nickel and dimed: the faq’s [Web log message]. Retrieved
Workers, N. A. (2008). NASW Code of Ethics (Guide to the Everyday Professional Conduct of
Social Workers). Washington, DC: NASW.