Making Referrals to the EAP - Part 2 of 2

Referral Forms

Management referrals are usually conducted through and with the assistance of the human resources department and require signed paperwork.  There is typically a Statement of Understanding which outlines the roles and responsibilities of the EAP, the Employer and the Employee and details the expectations the EAP and the employer have of the employee.   

The Performance Problem Documentation form specifies the reason(s) why the employee is being referred to the EAP and what concerns need to be addressed.  Often internal documentation from the employer is attached.

There are two levels of Authorization for Release of Information forms depending on the type of referral.  The Level I Authorization is usually sufficient for the informal-non-disciplinary referral and allows the EAP counselor to confirm the employee’s attendance, compliance and progress to the assigned EAP Care Manager who then communicates with the employer’s designated representative.   The Level II Authorization provides more information regarding an employee’s treatment protocol and can be used with the formal-disciplinary referral.  The Level II Authorization is always required for the fitness-for-duty referral.

These forms must be signed where indicated by the employee and the employer’s designated representative(s) before clinical evaluation may begin.  All communications flow through the EAP Care Manager who is the contact point for the counselor, the employee and the employer.       

An employee’s non-compliance with a management referral may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination per the dictates of a corresponding policy or due to the serious nature of the violation or safety risk leading to the management referral.   

When to make a referral

 If you are a supervisor, be sure to carefully document the employee’s performance issues.  Include steps you have taken to make the employee aware of the issues and of your expectations.  These steps might be in the form of verbal and written warnings.  Take this information to your human resources representative to determine if a referral is appropriate and if so, which type.  The human resources representative can provide the necessary paperwork and contact the EAP to arrange for the referral.

If you are the human resources representative and are not sure if a referral is appropriate or do not know which type of referral to make, contact your EAP for a consultation.  An EAP clinician will discuss the case with you, make a recommendation and lead you through the process.    


The ideal outcome is that the employee takes the referral to heart, resolves the issues and becomes a productive member of the team. This is the goal, and often the outcome, of a management referral.  Sometimes, however, an employee may refuse to accept or comply with a management referral and will voluntarily leave the company.  Other times an employee may fail to resolve the performance issues or will violate another company policy and will be terminated.  The outcome of a management referral is ultimately up to the employee.  As the employer, you will have provided the resources and can document your efforts to assist the troubled employee in becoming successful.