Referral to the EAP
If possible, consult with the EAP prior to making a supervisor referral, and provide the EAP with information about the performance issues. This helps the EAP conduct a more effective assessment. Without such information, the EA professional must rely upon the employee’s report of job performance problems. When this happens, EAP interviews with an employee may be less effective because the employee may not be very forthcoming about his or her performance problems.
- Tell your employee that you are making a supervisor referral to the EAP, and that you are basing the referral on performance problems. Be specific, tell your employee that you have made the EAP aware of the performance issues.
- Reference your documentation and past discussions with your employee. These should not be a surprise. Appear supportive, not angry. Act hopeful, not cynical.
- Remind the employee that the EAP is confidential. Ask your employee to sign a release when they meet with the EAP counselor so the EAP can confirm participation and follow-through with its recommendations. Tell the employee that the EAP will not provide personal information. Ask the employee if he or she will accept the referral.
- Let the employee know that participation in an EAP cannot result in loss of promotional opportunities or jeopardize one’s job security.
- If your employee does not accept an EAP referral, remind the employee that he or she could be subject to disciplinary action if performance problems continue. Do not threaten disciplinary action you will not or cannot carry out.
Do not discuss the referral of your employee with others, especially coworkers. Although your supervisor or manager may be aware of the referral, you must be cautious about improper disclosure of your employee’s personal information. Do not place information in a personnel file about the employee’s participation in the EAP that can remain there for others to see. These actions can contribute to the perception that the EAP is not a safe source of help.
After referring your employee, expect the EAP to confirm your employee’s attendance and agreement to follow through with its recommendations based on a signed release. Do not expect to receive personal information about your employee. If the EAP does not call you, then you should call the EAP. If the EAP cannot communicate with you about your employee, the employee may not have gone to the EAP, or may not have signed a release. Continue to focus on job performance and act accordingly. Do not become frustrated with the EAP, or believe your “hands are tied” and that you can’t act.