[Moderate revision–posted 4/27/17 (replaces 2/13/15 edition)]
Operating Policy and Procedure
OP 70.33: Employee Assistance Program
DATE: April 27, 2017
PURPOSE: The State Employee Health Fitness and Education Act (1983) of the state of Texas allows state agencies to establish wellness programs in their agency such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to establish procedures governing use of and referral to the EAP of Texas Tech University.
REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in March of odd-numbered years by the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources with substantive revisions forwarded through the Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President for Administration.
1. General Policy
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a helping program that enhances a healthy work attitude by providing faculty and staff employees the opportunity to manage life's problems before they become serious and impair work performance. It provides employees the opportunity to seek treatment for specific problems such as depression, anxiety, and marital/family problems. EAP services are private, professional, and confidential.
All full-time, part-time, and temporary employees are eligible to access the services of the EAP at any time. Members of employees' immediate families, living in their households, are also eligible.
3. Accessing the Employee Assistance Program
An employee who is experiencing personal problems or whose job performance is affected by personal problems is encouraged to seek help voluntarily from the EAP. EAP records are separate and not a part of an employee's personnel file. An employee's use of EAP services or any other information concerning the nature of the problem is not released to the employer or a supervisor. Confidentiality is regulated by federal guidelines.
An employee may seek assistance or learn more about the program by contacting the EAP directly at 743.1327 or 800.327.0328. The EAP is located in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Department of Psychiatry, 1A122 HSC building. http://www.ttuhsc.edu/centers/SWIAD/eap/
If an employee contacts a supervisor for assistance with a problem with which the EAP can be helpful, the supervisor should assist the employee in contacting the EAP.
b. Formal Supervisory Referral
In situations where an employee's attendance, punctuality, judgment, behavior, or job performance have deteriorated to the point that disciplinary action is being contemplated, a supervisor may formally refer (i.e., mandate) the employee to the EAP as part of the disciplinary process (see attachment). When a formal supervisory referral is made, the employee will be expected to sign a release of information form that permits the EAP counselor to provide four pieces of information to the supervisor. This information includes:
(1) If the initial appointment was kept;
(2) If the employee is cooperative with the counselor;
(3) If the employee is cooperative with the treatment plan; and
(4) If additional sessions requiring time away from work will be necessary. All other information will be kept confidential.
4. Time off for Counseling/Rehabilitation
Work time lost for counseling or rehabilitation will be charged to accrued sick leave, vacation leave, and/or leave without pay. In the case of a formal supervisory referral by a supervisor, the first counseling/rehabilitation session that results in time lost will not be charged to an employee's accrued leave time or to leave without pay.
5. Medical Benefits for Counseling/Rehabilitation Services
The EAP offers up to five counseling sessions per household per fiscal year at no cost to the employee. Any counseling or treatment beyond these five sessions will be referred to another provider, and the charges assessed by that provider are the responsibility of the individual. In many cases, further counseling by another provider can come under the benefits of the employee's health plan (please refer to plan booklet).
6. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA prohibits restricting the employment opportunities of qualified individuals who are participating in a supervised drug rehabilitation program and who are no longer engaging in such use and individuals erroneously regarded as being current drug users.
Also, an individual who has successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and is no longer engaging in the illegal use of drugs, or has been otherwise rehabilitated successfully and is no longer engaging in such use, is protected from discrimination in employment under the ADA.
Alcoholism, which substantially limits major life activities, may be regarded as an ADA-covered disability.
Each Texas Tech department is encouraged to post the name and telephone number of the EAP in a location where all employees may see it.
All information involving counseling, rehabilitation, or treatment through the EAP and the referral agencies utilized by the EAP will be treated as confidential medical information and is maintained in the EAP Office. All such information will be accessible only to those TTUHSC officials and designated medical or professional persons as have been approved on a valid, need- to-know basis. It will not be provided to any party without the written consent of the employee pursuant to administrative or legal procedure or process. Any employee who willfully discloses such information in violation of Texas Tech policy will be subject to discipline.
9. Wellness Workshops
In addition to confidential counseling services, the EAP also provides wellness workshops on topics such as stress management, communication, and conflict resolution. Employees may contact the EAP Office by calling 806.743.1327 or visiting the EAP website http://www.ttuhsc.edu/centers/SWIAD/eap/ to receive information about upcoming workshops.
10. Evaluation of EAP Services
The Employee Assistance Program director provides quarterly utilization report summaries to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources.
11. Right to Change Policy
Texas Tech reserves the right to interpret, change, modify, amend, or rescind this policy, in whole or in part, at any time without the consent of employees.
12. Authoritative Reference
Texas Government Code, Chapter 664, State Employees Health Fitness and Education Act of 1983
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