Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The Department of Labor says the FMLA is expanded immediately (1-28-2008) as a result of President' Bush's signing of the Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4986). Specifically the FMLA will now cover eligible employees, allowing them to take job protected family medical leave due to exigencies (anything that is urgent that calls employee away from work due to the absence of another family member on military duty) or to care for a family member who was injured while serving in the military. Contact the Department of Labor. The Office of Personnel Managment is drafting the language governing the ruling as this is being posted.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

FMLA Leave for Alcoholism - When Treatment Starts

The doctor of an alcoholic employee argued that his patient was due FMLA leave from the time he took off work to phone his doctor and arrange an assessment to enter treatment. Treatment admission took a couple of days. Was he drunk or in withdrawal? It may not matter, FMLA leave was denied for any days prior to the admission date. The feds meant to say that treatment for alcoholism begins upon entry in to treatment or the day treatment begins. What was the patient's condition during those two days? How functional would he have been at work? Good questions. Will this discourage people from getting help if they wake up in the morning and can't be admitted at the time they are motivated with a hangover? The symptoms of alcoholism, and the dynamics that force a person with the disease to enter treatment are unique for this drug addiction or any other. The courts still aren't seeing alcoholism for the complex illness it is, it seems.

Read about it here!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Workers Comp for the Effects of Horrible Knowledge

Lincoln, Nebraska. A proposed new law in the State of Nebraska will allow first responders to obtain workers' compensation for posttraumatic stress resulting from their witnessing criminal acts that are so traumatizing as to create "mental effects."

Proactive EAPs in Nebraska should use this window of opportunity to discuss the helpful role they play, or could better play, in mitigating the effects of horrible knowledge by being available to employees who are affected by trauma.

This proposed law will begin a community dialog on how to help first responders. EAPs should move quickly to position themselves as best able to respond to these needs. Why? CISM requires peer debriefers of course, but mental health professionals also participate in CISDs.

Afterwards and beforehand mental health professionals play consultative roles in helping guide and support CISM programs. They know the culture wherein first responders work. And this provides an unmatched ability to help the first responder because the nuances of the organizational context are known and incorporated into the helping process.

The sooner CISM is started, the better its outcome. Emergency services can use EAPs to help employees and reduce the costs of workers comp, employee turnover, and lost time just name a few. The link below explains more:

Friday, January 18, 2008

UK Cites EAPs as a Key to Reducing Absenteeism

Wow. I must have been clairvoyant a couple days ago because the HRZONE.COM, a Web site in Great Britain, cited EAPs as a major player in reducing long-term absenteeism. I picked up the story while researching Workers' Compensation news reports.

See this link:

Print the study. It's not a bad one to have in your marketing arsenal.

I released the 2008 EAPTOOLS.COM Catalog. Did you get it? If not, send
me an e-mail at, and I'll pop one in the mail to you along with a gift certificate.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Drunk, Injured, and Fully Qualified for Workers Compensation

In many states, if you get injured on the job and your drunk or using drugs, it is assumed that your injury is a direct result of your being intoxicated or under the influence. Hence, no workers' compensation. Well, South Dakota has a whole new reason to fire up its efforts to get EAPs in every workplace.

You see, the State tried to reverse this doctrine, but the legislature didn't go for it. It said "NO!" When you're drunk on the job in South Dakota and get injured, you still get workers' compensation. Being intoxicated is not relevant, unless the employer can prove it was the direct cause of your injury. You don't have to prove that the drinking or drug use was not the cause of your injury. It's assumed. The State of South Dakota tried to reverse this rule and make injured employees prove the drug or alcohol use were not the cause their injury.

Link to the article:

It is still the burden of the employer to prove that the employee's alcohol or drug use was the cause of the accident. If they can't prove that a drunk or drugging employee's behavior caused the injury (that can be tough) then the Workers' Compensation still pays.

Ouch! So, what is the solution. The answer lies in having decent EAP services with strong core technology integration (integration in my book means integrated within the organization's system, not an EAP mixed with an insurance product) that provide tons of supervisor training and good supervisor referral procedures. Drug testing? Well, what about the alcoholic with a .00 BAL who is hungover and shaking and at greater risk in withdrawal than if was at a comfortable .15 BAL? His belligerence is the gateway to intervention, not intoxication. He won't look, act, or possibly smell intoxicated. In fact he may be the most well-liked, compentent and socially accepted employee in the company unless he's not drinking! Business and industry is still not getting the EAP message. They got the managed care message. The EAP message is still asleep. Or those in control of the EAP message are asleep at the switch. That's us. Me. You. EAPA.

Why are we still talking about these basic issues of EAP theory and the core technology? Why is South Dakota--today--not in the headlines with a massive effort to get EAPs into every business in the State? The rate of alcoholism in the workplace there is enormous because it has a high native American population with biogenetic susceptibility to addictive disease.

Stay tuned to this blog. I am going to discuss new frontiers of the core technology and unexplored galaxies of EAP opportunity. Ever here of something called EAP Behavioral Risk Mapping? Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

FREE Workplace Violence Video from Feds (Click Here)

Folks, this is great. You may have missed this FREE resource in between appointments and workplace crises. Your tax dollars are working, it's just you don't always get notified effectively. A FREE training and educational DVD is available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) that provides employers, employees, safety professionals, and others with information for preventing work-related homicides and assaults.

VIOLENCE ON THE JOB discusses practical measures for identifying risk factors for violence at work, and taking strategic action to keep employees safe. It is based on extensive NIOSH research, supplemented with information from other authoritative sources.

Anyone-- HR manager, EAP, or Occupational Health Professional, citizen---can download the movie in any of several different formats. You can put it on a CD or load it to your Web site, view it online, whatever. You could even email a link to supervisors and employees throughout the company.

"The DVD format offers exciting new capabilities as an engaging, interactive, and effective tool for safety and health education in the workplace," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "We are confident that this new DVD will help meet an ongoing demand by businesses and employees for information they can use to keep their workplaces safe from acts of violence."

Included in the new DVD are:
A 21-minute training and education program designed to engage a wide variety of workplace audiences.

A bonus video on a program in New York State for preventing workplace violence in state drug treatment facilities. The case study includes discussions by a labor representative and a management representative who were instrumental in developing and implementing the program.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines for preventing workplace violence in health care workplaces, late-night retail settings, and taxicab services.

Access to additional materials and resources on preventing workplace violence. Here is where to get. (Click the title of this post to reach the NIOSH page.)

Here is where to get it the video. If you can't see the link below, click the title of this post. It's a live link to the video page at NIOSH.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

DUI Clients = More Alcoholic EAP Clients

Employees of your company, or the companies you serve may get arrested for drunk driving. How many do you find out about? And how can these employees become clients of the EAP, thereby boosting EAP utilization with every EAP's most valuable client--an alcoholic in recovery?

This year, establish a relationship with your local Alcohol Safety Action Program affiliated with the court. Build a relationship and encourage them to contact you directly when an employee of a company you serve is arrested for DUI. Let them know what companies you serve. You can use the referrals, manage treatment, and these folks will love you for it because they are always swamped. Being swamped and under-staffed means alcohol troubled DUI clients fall through the cracks. If they work for a company you serve behavioral risk continues.

Some ASAP offices will accept the EAP's assessment, recommendations, and with the client's permission, allow the EAP to do the follow-up. Most employees will readily accept a referral to the EAP when the ASAP counselor says, "By the way, we know you have an EAP with your company. The EA professional is so-and-so. We would like you to take advantage of the EAP's services. It's confidential."

The chances are that employees arrested for DUI are alcoholics. (Like you needed to hear that one.) This means your addiction utilization will go up. There is nothing more valuable to EAPs longevity and survival than helping alcoholic employees. Most EAPs don't see as many as they used to, and it is frustrating. As you know, ASAP clients don't usually end up in treatment. Education, yes. Treatment, no. Many get missed, or there is little incentive to deal with the full problem. That changes when you come into the picture.

If these DUI arrested employees do enter treatment through ASAP, it is usually a half-measured attempt that includes no follow-up worth a hoot, failed antabuse use, and the effectiveness of many treatment programs is poor without good follow up. Relapse is virtually certain. Alcoholics, and addicts are the most costly employees on a company’s payroll. So be a hero and start getting these referrals. I've done it. It works.

Call your ASAP office today. Meet to set up a cooperative relationship with staff, and test this utilization improvement strategy.

Friday, January 4, 2008


1. Employees are concerned about confidentiality. That's nothing new. But here's what you might not know: Fear among the workforce that the EAP might not be confidential is a continual and natural force for every EAP and it never goes away. Don't be fooled. Your ethics and confidentiality guidelines are not enough to fight what I call "confidentiality attrition."

2. Confidentiality attrition is the erosion of the "perception of confidentiality" caused by naturally occurring fear and its result: misinformation among employees that the EAP is, or might not be confidential. Confidentiality attrition occurs when EAPs neglect to promote confidentiality frequently, regularly, and non-stop. Confidentiality attrition is a natural phenomenon. The bottom line: Any EAP that does not market and promote its confidentiality boundaries continually will eventually be seen as not confidential by a significant percentage of the workforce -- no matter what the reality.

3. Like a wave coming from the other direction, this perception will overtake your program unless it is fought with marketing techniques that continually communicate confidentiality. To fight the wave you must beat it back, and there is no end to this process. Talk about confidentiality in many different respects - how staff are trained, what laws they follow, discuss informed consent, discuss staff boundaries, releases, and the organization's commitment. Mention confidentiality in your employee newsletter. Look for confidentiality breaches. For example, do your clients meet each other in the main waiting room of an EAP office, or do you have private EAP waiting rooms? Many EAPs are modeled after "therapy offices" but EAPs aren't therapy! Separate entrances and exits help maintain the confidentiality and help market your program by word of mouth. A challenge, true, but do you see the logic in moving toward such a goal?

4. Beyond confidentiality, no EAP staff should socialize with an employee in the host organization who could potentially become an EAP client. This is a critical EAP ethical boundary you won't read about in any EAP manual or book, but you should adopt it. This boundary underscores the unique role of EA professionals in the workplace. Socializing with employees - going to lunch, joining social clubs, attending personal parties and social engagements, hiring blue-collar trade staff from the organization for personal domestic projects, etc. will damage the perception of confidentiality among the workforce. All these things have happened in EAPs we know. These practices alienate employees, disturb the fragile confidentiality boundary, and create dual relationships in conflict with each other that kill EAP utilization. New EA hires should commit to these types of expectations and you should bring them to the attention of other EA professionals to enhance the viability of the EAP profession.