In Practice 35:287 doi:10.1136/inp.f2557
  • Everyday ethics

Comments on the dilemma in the April issue: ‘Is flirting with clients taboo?’

  1. Siobhan Mullan
  1. Bristol, UK


The dilemma in the April issue concerned the boundaries and behaviours that are acceptable when dealing with clients, in particular whether flirtation is ever appropriate (In Practice, April 2013, volume 35, pages 222–223). Steven McCulloch defined what constituted flirting and how it might be used in certain business situations, such as sales. He stressed, however, that veterinary surgeons and other caring professionals, unlike salespeople, could not afford to have a ‘what sells goes’ attitude, and that their codes of conduct emphasised integrity and outlined boundaries of behaviour that ought not to be crossed. Because vets were in a position of power when relating with clients, and flirtation could be seen as an abuse of that power, it was not only risky but inconsistent with professional behaviour.

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