Resource Library

The Employee Assistance Program

Understanding and Using It

Date: October 2020

A well-designed employee assistance program (EAP) takes an employee’s personal problems out of the workplace and appropriately places them in the office of a professional counselor who can provide assistance in resolving them. The result is reduced exposure to litigation and the employee’s return to work as a valuable participating member of the team.

One of MCIT’s primary goals is to assist members in identifying risks and mitigating exposures. Anxiety and  abusive behavior appearing at the workplace, and deteriorating job performance may be symptoms that an employee is confronting personal problems, such as a relationship issue, financial crisis, separation, divorce, depression, grief, parent or child difficulties, concerns about work, or alcohol or chemical abuse.

When these situations are handled inappropriately or ignored, the potential increases for civil lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. The costs associated with dealing with a difficult employee, the defense of a lawsuit, the cost of legal advice, loss of employee morale and the investment of training new staff were considerations that led MCIT to introduce its Employee Assistance Program to reduce and prevent losses.

An employee assistance program is a worksite-based program designed to help employees identify and resolve problems that impair their performance at work. It is voluntary and designed to assist employees and their family members with difficult personal issues.

The EAP provides:

  • training for individuals in the identification and resolution of job performance issues.
  • access to confidential assessment and discussions with qualified counselors.
  • referrals for treatment depending upon the diagnosis.
  • the formation of lines of communication between the workplace and community resources.
  • follow-up services for employees.

Since 1996 MCIT has contracted with Sand Creek, a Minnesota behavioral health care provider (part of AllOne Health company), to provide an employee assistance program for MCIT’s members as a risk management tool. Sand Creek was chosen for its ability to provide employee assistance counseling in multiple locations to every county in Minnesota, its past experience in providing EAPs to counties, and its willingness to work closely with MCIT to design and deliver a program to meet members’ unique needs.

Open the PDF to learn more about the MCIT Employee Assistance Program and how you and your employees may benefit from it.