The Employee Assistance Program 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. If you make a referral for someone else, it's confidential. Technically, EAP services are supposed to be confidential, but that's not always the case.
According to Workplace Solutions, many employees are hesitant to contact EAP for privacy reasons. While most EAPs are located off-site, some EAPs are in the company. So, if you're an employee who comes into the EAP office for a voluntary counseling session, and you don't want your colleagues to know, but a co-worker sees you enter the office, there's not much you can do to maintain your privacy or avoid gossip. Confidentiality is the hallmark of successful EAP services.
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. EAP 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. Because employers or human resources professionals often lack information about the types and availability of EAP services, the employee may not even know about the existence of the EAP program in the workplace.
All personal information shared during the conversation between the EAP professional and the employee will remain confidential and will not be disclosed to the employee's supervisor. 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, as mentioned above, they may fear a breach of confidentiality. Employee assistance programs, also called EAPs, are employer-funded programs designed to provide a variety of services to employees in need.
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.