An employee assistance program (EAP) is a program offered by employers to assist employees with work and life concerns. Employee assistant programs may provide support to employees for depression, stress, addictions, anger, parenting, relationships, and grief and loss. Employees of private employers may have access to an EAP through their employer's human resources or benefits department.
The Department of Enterprise Services administers the Washington State Employee Assistance Program (WSEAP). The WSEAP is a confidential program created to promote the health, safety, and well-being of state employees. Employees' participation and all individually identifiable information gathered in the process of conducting the WSEAP must be kept confidential; however, agency management may be provided with certain information in the case of poor job performance. An employee's participation or nonparticipation in the EAP must not be a factor in a decision affecting the employee's job security, promotional opportunities, corrective or disciplinary action, or other employment rights.
An employer may not obtain individually identifiable information regarding an employee's participation in an EAP. Individually identifiable information gathered in the process of conducting an EAP must be kept confidential.
The prohibition does not apply to:
An employee's participation or nonparticipation in an EAP must not be a factor in a decision affecting an employee's job security, promotional opportunities, corrective or disciplinary action, or other employment rights.
(In support) Employees need behavioral health assistance and employers should not be able to control or access counselor's notes when an employee uses an EAP. This bill provides the same confidentiality protections for private EAPs as the WSEAP. Disclosures may be made under the duty to warn and to confirm attendance. It will ensure that employers cannot access employee information and provide assurance to employees that they can seek help without concern their employers will find out.