College Policy Number/Title:
Effective Date: 12/18/2001
- 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 which 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, position control/budgeted employees at no cost. The purposes of the EAP are:
1. to assist employees directly seeking assistance through confidential self referral;
2. to assist employees referred by supervisors through confidential assessment, referral, and follow-up;
3. 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
4. to assist family members (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 eight 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 within the first few 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 referral to the program, will not jeopardize employment or promotional opportunities except as provided by the rare mandatory referral noted in paragraph #5. 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.
- An employee's evaluation is based strictly on work performance rather than the decision to accept or decline an EAP referral and any subsequent treatment recommendations. However, the EAP may be helpful to supervisors in addressing performance issues or providing an intervention which might avert the need for disciplinary action.
- When there are very serious performance problems, and particularly violations of the college’s Violence Prevention procedure (63.10.12) and/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 and the president or vice president of the area. In these cases, the employee’s consultation with the EAP would be a condition of continued employment.
- 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. Employees may access services by calling the college's EAP provider. Brochures detailing EAP services and the 800 access number are available in the office of human resources.