This was written for a scenario where a senior engineer has been submitting the work of a junior engineer as his own.
This is definitely a case of plagiarism. Judith VanAlstyne (2005) points out that the word plagiarism derives its meaning from the Latin word plagiarus meaning “kidnapper” (p. 172). Plagiarism is considered a serious breach of ethics, and many organizations consider it a very serious offense. Although a writer must take care to avoid plagiarism when writing, discovering an act of plagiarism is another matter for an editor.
This is a situation that can probably be handled between the editor and the writer. If the editor suggests that the writer re-write the work because it is strikingly similar to another writer’s work, it is likely no conflict will occur. The writer will likely realize that he or she has been outed and re-do the work to avoid any potential embarrassment. If the writer is unwillingly to change the document or claims there is no plagiarism, the editor has no choice but to go to his supervisor with the information.
As Jonathan Bailey (2005) notes, plagiarism in the work place is not usually a legal matter. Although copyright law does protect works created in the workplace, the copyright is held by the employer (Bailey, 2005). This means that no legal action can be taken against an engineer that plagiarizes from another engineer within the company. This does not mean that an ethical code has not been broken.
Bailey, J. (2005). The Three Kinds of Plagiarism: Part Two. PlagiarismToday. Retrieved July 29, 2008/
VanAlstyne, J. S. (2005). Professional and technical writing strategies: Communicating in technology and science. Sixth ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson-Prentice Hall.