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EAP referrals

Individuals seek assistance from the EAP in a variety of ways.


Employees, retirees, their immediate family members, and organizational work units are always welcome to seek out the EAP on their own.

Supervisory referral

A supervisor, manager, or administrator may refer an employee for EAP service. A ranked or tiered system defines this process:

Level 1: Casually encourage self-referral: The supervisor encourages an employee to self-refer for EAP support. Such encouragement could transpire during a conversation between the employee and supervisor, particularly in response to an employee statement(s) about personal problems, or when a supervisor has noticed substandard performance.

Level 2: Strongly encourage self-referral: This type of encouragement for self-referral is connected to a formal conversation between a supervisor and employee regarding less than acceptable job performance. This intervention is not associated with progressive discipline or any formal personnel action.

Level 3: Supervisory referral: Based upon unacceptable performance, an appointment is made with the EAP on the behalf of an employee by the supervisor. The supervisor may delay execution of disciplinary action, or reduce intended discipline, pending participation in EAP service. This process may provide incentive for employees to follow through with EAP referral. The EAP will provide confirmation of employee attendance to the referring authority. In these cases, and based upon the presenting problem, the EAP may choose to provide the requested service, or refer the employee to a community-based practitioner.

Suggestions for making a supervisory referral

Referring employees to the EAP can be a sensitive topics. These suggestions can make the process easier:

  • Schedule a meeting with the employee in a room that is neutral, private, and where a personal conversation can happen in a comfortable environment.
  • Be sure to use supportive statements and avoid criticism or judgmental statements.
  • Use specific statements and reference documented facts when discussing performance problems.
  • Use "I" statements. For example, "I have noticed during the past 30 days you have called in sick nine times. I am concerned about you, and I am wondering how I can help.”
  • Acknowledge times when employee behavior improves with positive statements.
  • Provide the employee with referral numbers to the EAP, and discuss with them how the EAP can be helpful in their situation.

Referral from Human Resources

The Office of Human Resources may mandate employee participation in EAP services subsequent to a determination that such a referral is requisite for employment success and organizational membership. In these cases, and based upon the presenting problem, the EAP may choose to provide the requested service, or refer the employee to a community-based practitioner.

Court referral

A court of law may mandate employee participation in EAP services following a resolution that such support is essential to ensure public safety and for employee – organizational well-being.

Medical referral

A qualified medical professional may make referral for EAP services. They may find that such intervention is indicated for any number of stressors, such as those connected to medical, psychological, social, or economic problems.

Reviewed August 20, 2015.