Approved by Executive Council: September 20, 2010
Posted: September 22, 2010
Policy Topic: Personnel
Administering Office: Office of Human Resources
I. POLICY STATEMENT
Western Carolina University (“University”) recognizes that employees experiencing personal problems, including but not limited to, emotional illness, alcohol and drug abuse, marital discord and financial problems should be encouraged to seek professional assistance since such problems often result in human suffering for employees and their families. In addition, personal problems of this nature may impair work performance and often impact fellow workers. University managers understand that with early intervention and proper support, most employees can be effectively assisted. The University’s Counseling and Psychological Center provides consultation and psychological counseling services primarily to students. As a result, the University has established an Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) for its employees.
II. SCOPE AND PROGRAM OVERVIEW
This policy applies to all University employees.
Administration of the EAP program will be the joint responsibility of the Office of Human Resources and a behavioral health organization with which the University may contract from time to time (“EAP Provider”). The Office of Human Resources will provide information to staff and faculty members upon request regarding the EAP and EAP Providers, and ensure that the EAP is administered consistent with University policy and the State Personnel Act.
The EAP Provider will provide assessment and referral services for all EAP participants, gather utilization data, and consult with the Office of Human Resources on EAP training activities. These services will be provided on a fee for service basis.
For treatment or extended service, the employee will be referred to local community agencies, hospitals, clinics or private practitioners. The EAP Provider will endeavor to facilitate an effective link with such outside service providers.
The University expects employees to assume responsibility for the treatment and/or remediation of personal problems. Upon referral by the EAP for treatment at an appropriate community agency, the employee should make appropriate use of leave time (e.g., sick leave, vacation or leave without pay) as necessary.
It is the responsibility of all supervisory personnel to assure that an employee's participation in EAP services will not jeopardize that person's job security or promotional opportunities, in accordance with University policy and applicable state and federal law.
A. Voluntary Participation
Employees may voluntarily participate or may be encouraged to participate in the EAP by a supervisor who has observed and documented specific instances of unsatisfactory job performance or unacceptable personal conduct, or for other reasons. In these cases, the University may elect to pay for the cost of the EAP services. Employees who participate in EAP services will generally be subject to the same performance standards which existed prior to EAP involvement.
The University wants to encourage employees with personal problems to seek assistance. Therefore, with supervisory approval, employees may schedule EAP appointments on work time. However, if they choose to do so on their own time, faculty and staff employees may access the services of the EAP Provider directly without informing their supervisor.
B. Directed Participation
In some cases, an employee may be directed to meet with a counselor identified by the EAP Provider as a result of a specific disciplinary action relating to unsatisfactory job performance or unacceptable personal conduct, including the failure or refusal to work cooperatively with departmental colleagues, or in connection with workplace violence issues and/or campus threat assessment procedures. In these cases, the employee must participate in EAP services and provide written consent to the disclosure of confidential EAP reports and information directly to the Director of Human Resources. In circumstances where an employee has been placed on investigative leave pertaining to campus safety concerns, the employee’s return to work will be contingent upon the counselor’s verification that the employee is physically and mentally capable of safely performing the essential functions of his/her job. If an employee refuses to (1) participate in EAP services, (2) submit to any EAP examination, including a fitness for duty examination, or (3) consent to the disclosure of EAP reports to the University, such refusal shall constitute insubordination and the employee may be subject to disciplinary action. The cost of these referrals and services will be borne by the unit in which the employee works.
C. EAP Reports and Records
Reports and records of EAP services will be considered confidential health records. The nature and content of EAP services provided to individual employees will not become part of an employee's personnel file.