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College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College has established a faculty and staff Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide an opportunity for employees to obtain professional assistance when they are experiencing personal problems that may, or have the potential to, adversely affect job performance or overall quality of life. Effective on the date of employment, this benefit is available to all full-time and part-time, position control/budgeted employees, as well as full-time and part-time temporary with benefits employees, at no cost. Family members of such employees (see definition below) are also eligible to access EAP services for free.  Each eligible individual can receive up to six face-to-face counseling sessions per problem episode per year in addition to unlimited phone consultations.

The purposes of the EAP are:

  • to assist employees directly seeking assistance through confidential self-referral;
  • to assist employees referred by supervisors through confidential assessment, referral, and follow-up;
  • to provide training and consultation to supervisors to enable them to deal with subordinates whose job performance is deteriorating and who do not respond to normal supervisory counseling; and
  • to assist family members through self-referral (family member is defined as someone who is either included in the employee's health plan or living in the employee's household).

Short-term problem solving will be provided by the EAP counselor when, as a result of the assessment, the counselor determines that the participant's problem can likely be resolved within a maximum of six sessions. If the counselor determines that a referral to an additional specialized resource would be the best help for the employee, the counselor will facilitate a referral at any time within the course of the six sessions. Consideration will be given to the geographic location and financial status of the participant and also the participant's health insurance provisions. EAP clients will be contacted for follow-up by the EAP representative within two to four weeks.

Participation in the EAP is strictly voluntary in most instances. An employee who requests counseling or other assistance from the EAP in connection with any personal problem or elects not to accept a supervisor's voluntary referral to the program, will not jeopardize employment or promotional opportunities except as provided by mandatory referrals described in the following paragraph. Employees who are referred by supervisors for performance-related issues may use work time for EAP services with the understanding that attendance will be confirmed to supervisors by an EAP representative.

When there are very serious performance or conduct problems, and particularly violations of the college’s Employee Code of Conduct Procedure (63.09.14) or issues related to the Fitness to Work procedure (63.10.11), the college may require mandatory consultation with the EAP, with the approval of human resources.  In these cases, the employee’s consultation with the EAP would be a condition of continued employment.

An employee's evaluation is based strictly on work performance rather than the decision to accept or decline a voluntary EAP referral and any subsequent treatment recommendations. However, the EAP may be helpful to supervisors in addressing performance issues or providing an intervention that might avert the need for disciplinary action.

All discussions with EAP counselors are held in strict confidence. When employees are referred by supervisors, they will be asked by counselors to sign a release enabling the counselor to share certain specific information limited to the following: (1) that the employee has kept appointments with the EAP counselor and (2) that the employee has followed the steps prescribed by the counselor. However, confidentiality laws and regulations provide that in any situation of imminent danger (e.g., imminent suicidal/homicidal behavior or child abuse), written consent is not required and measures would be taken to protect the participant or others as needed. 

The EAP's telephone counselors are also available to provide free guidance and assistance in the areas of childcare, eldercare, legal, and financial services.  Information detailing EAP services and the phone number are available in the office of human resources and on the portal under benefits.

Effective Date:  03/13/15