Help Employees Find Assistance
- On Campus: Call ext. 1212
- Inform your immediate supervisor or dean
- Inform University Police
It is important not to assume that because a person’s behavior is unusual or different, that he/she is suffering from a mental health problem. When an individual has a disability that is medical or mental health-related, they can be every bit as able to participate productively within the scope of their job description. Therefore, it is vitally important not to jump to conclusions about a person’s mental or emotional abilities or problems.
On the other hand, research indicates that the likelihood of effective treatment is higher with early assessment and intervention. Sometimes bizarre or unusual behavior warrants professional assessment and intervention. At times, therefore, it is helpful for you to suggest that the employee seek consultation with EAP. At other times, you might want to seek EAP consultation to determine whether you should speak to an employee and, if so, how.
If the employee is willing to see a counselor, they can make their own appointments. However, depending on your degree of involvement you may phone ahead or accompany the employee.
During an employee's first visit to EAP, there are information forms to complete before the employee sees a counselor. At the first visit, the counselor will discuss the appropriate options with the employee. Depending on the employee's needs, the employee may be seen in EAP for up to five visits or referred to another appropriate on or off campus community resource. It is also feasible that the employee may leave the initial appointment feeling able to handle the problem on her/his own.
Employees may call EAP at (920) 424-2061 or stop by the Student Success Center between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
There are times when you want to help an employee find relief and want to refer them to EAP for help. An informal referral occurs when you help a distressed employee identify appropriate resources for help and suggest that the employee use those resources. Again your feedback to employees should be based on observable behaviors. When you provide an informal referral, the employee’s behavior does not impact his work performance. In fact, your actions are preventive; an attempt to improve the situation with everyone’s well being at heart. Addressing employees’ problems is a sensitive area. It can lead to legal problems as well because of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is not within your responsibility to discriminate what is and is not a personal or emotional problem.
A formal referral may occur as part of a structured discipline process to address problematic work performance. The referral is offered by the supervisor, department chair, director or team leader to inform the employee of options available for him or her to remedy substandard work performance. Referral resources, including EAP, should be named at each step of the discipline process and the process is documented. An employee’s decision to follow up on the referral is always voluntary. Other appropriate on or off-campus options may be offered.
For information on how to proceed with a structured disciplinary process contact the Office of Human Resources at (920) 424-1166. You also might want to call EAP and request the handout called “Supervisory Referral: Addressing Performance Problems.”
What to Do
Because intervening with a troubled employee can be awkward and intimidating, it can seem preferable to do nothing, hoping the problems will just go away. However, in so doing, you may "enable" employees by covering up problems or helping employees avoid the natural consequences of their actions. Sometimes department chairs, supervisors, directors and team leaders avoid asking for assistance because they feel responsible for handling these problems on their own. Yet dealing with a troubled employee on your own can be stressful and at times overwhelming.
A referral to EAP should not be construed as an alternative to following established supervisory practices or procedures in your department, e.g., evaluation of work performance, imposing disciplinary sanctions, etc. Before making an informal or formal referral to EAP, it is expected that you follow appropriate supervisory practice and communicate clearly and specifically not only that a problem exists, but also what needs to be done to correct the situation.
Your referral to EAP does not prevent you from taking appropriate corrective action if performance or employment problems persist or if performance falls off again after a period of improvement. A consultation with EAP is not a substitute for appropriate corrective action nor should it be used as a basis for compromising performance standards or employment practices/work rules. Hence, whenever one of your employees participates in EAP, you should still expect the individual to meet and maintain existing job performance standards and established employment practices/work rules within the framework of existing union/management agreements, statues and administrative code.
Additonal Consultations Available to You
If you have chosen to follow through with an employee, you may still have some questions about how best to handle the situation. Staff members at EAP are available to:
- Assess the situation, its seriousness and potential for referral.
- Help you learn about resources, both on and off campus so that you can suggest the most appropriate help available when talking with the employee.
- Help you find the best way to make a referral, if appropriate.
- Clarify your own feelings about the employee and consider the ways you can be most effective.
For consultation with EAP staff, please call (920) 424-2061 or stop by the Student Success Center during regular office hours. Let the receptionist know you want a faculty or staff consultation.