The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential resource developed to help employees and their families deal with issues that affect their lives at work or at home. Any employee or family member, co-worker, or supervisor is entitled to EAP services, and referrals for someone else are also kept confidential. While EAP services are supposed to be confidential, some employees may be hesitant to contact EAP due to privacy concerns. At EAP, we comply with federal confidentiality laws, state policies, and the ethical mandates of our profession that govern the disclosure of information.
The confidentiality guidelines are explained to employees at the time of service and a signed disclosure of information is required to share information. The only exception is if employees appear to be a danger to themselves or others. In these rare cases, EAP is required to notify the appropriate authorities. All services provided at EAP are strictly confidential and must comply with state and federal confidentiality regulations.
This statement only authorizes the employee's supervisor to confirm that the employee scheduled an appointment with the EAP and whether or not they attended that appointment. Employees concerned about being identified as program participants may choose to make appointments before work, during lunchtime, or after work. In addition, due to a lack of knowledge about how the program works, some employees may avoid seeking help from the EAP because they fear being stigmatized, demoted, or even fired in some way for demonstrating that they need help, or they may fear a breach of confidentiality. Employers with Washington employees who offer or are considering implementing an EAP program should review the new privacy protection rules and prepare for compliance.
A failed performance evaluation review, a drug-free workplace, workplace violence, or a disciplinary agreement with an employee requires that an employee be referred to the EAP for evaluation and assistance with a personal, behavioral, or medical problem. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a joint labor management program that benefits New York State employees by improving employee well-being, increasing productivity and improving workplace morale. EAPs provide a variety of services to employees in need and ensure that all personal information shared during conversations between the EAP professional and the employee remains confidential and will not be disclosed to the employee's supervisor. By understanding the importance of confidentiality in successful EAP services, employers can ensure that their employees feel comfortable seeking help when needed.