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The Supervisor's Key Role in the EAP Process

Lots go on before an employee is told to "call the EAP."

June 8, 2000
Even more than employees, supervisors are far more likely to consult with and refer to an onsite EAP.

Supervisors come to trust an EAP counselor when they know that this individual has spent enough time at their particular worksite to be familiar with company policies, procedures and corporate culture.

A critical part of the process in supervisory referral is the consultation that takes place between the supervisor and the EAP counselor before the employee is given the recommendation to "Call the EAP."

In the pre-referral conversation, the supervisor communicates the nature of the job performance problem and describes what it's like to deal with the particular employee. The EAP counselor advises the supervisor on how to approach the employee, based on the particular circumstances, so that the referral can be effective.

The supervisor and EAP counselor establish an understanding about future communication regarding whether the employee follows through on the referral or chooses to drop out of the program at a future date.

The EAP counselor informs the supervisor about the boundaries of confidentiality, governing information that the EAP can disclose with or without employee consent and what the supervisor may discuss on a "need to know" basis, without creating liability issues for the company.

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