Management & HR Assistance
People access the EAP for many different reasons, but there are three avenues by which people enter the program. These are voluntary or self-referrals, informal supervisory referrals, and formal supervisory referrals.
The Voluntary (Self-Referral)
Eighty-five to ninety percent of those using EAP services are self-referred. These people have chosen to use the EAP independently. Some may have a job performance problem, but they have sought out the EAP before a supervisor or manager becomes involved.
The Informal Referral
This type of referral occurs when there is no pattern of deteriorating work performance, but a supervisor is aware that an employee is experiencing difficulty in their personal life. For example, an employee may confide that they are having marital problems. A comment such as this allows the supervisor to remind them about the EAP and to suggest that they call to set up an appointment, e.g., “That sounds like a difficult situation…Are you aware that our organization has an EAP?” In this case, disciplinary action is not warranted, and contacting the EAP is entirely up to the employee.
The Formal (Management) Referral
This type of referral occurs when there is a pattern of deteriorating work performance, and a supervisor's action is likely. In a case where there are performance problems that you must discuss with the employee, part of that discussion involves a referral to the EAP, e.g., “I am concerned about the changes we’ve discussed regarding your performance… our EAP may be able to help you address whatever has caused these changes. I have advised our EAP of the issues and am making a formal management referral.”
This type of referral is also found in organizations with drug screen policies. In general, such policies comply with, or are modeled after Federal Regulations, and require that employees who test positive for drugs or alcohol face a mandatory referral to the EAP. To retain their employment, such an employee must go to the EAP for an assessment and a referral for treatment. They must comply with the treatment recommendations. Failure to abide by the referral or treatment recommendations can result in immediate termination. Based on their current drug screen policies, the employer has adequate legal justification for terminating the employee, e.g., “Based on the results of your drug/alcohol test, you could be terminated. We are willing to give you a second chance but I require that you work with the EAP.” Each supervisor must make themselves familiar with all company policies.