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Chapter 13 Employee assistance programs.

"Understanding of our fellow human beings becomes fruitful only when it is sustained by sympathetic feelings in joy and sorrow."


"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."


"Houston, we have a problem."



Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have rapidly become a valuable management tool in the hospitality industry in our quest to retain our valued employees. Employee assistance programs work in tandem with the corrective action and counseling programs we discussed in Chapter 9. Together, these programs help in the retention of the "troubled" employee as well as any employee who must deal with a variety of personal problems outside the immediate work environment. As you will soon see, the problems EAPs assist with are very diversified.

At the conclusion of this chapter you will be able to:

1. Define an Employee Assistance Program and its role in employee retention.

2. Identify problems that you think could be handled by an EAR

3. Describe the differences between in-house and contracted-out EAPs.

4. Describe the development and implementation of an EAP in a hospitality organization.

5. Identify the evaluation methods used to determine the cost effectiveness of an EAR

6. Explain the role of employee assistance programs in the strategic human resources management plan for a hospitality organization.

7. Understand the effects of AIDS in the hospitality workplace.


Jeffery has been with your hospitality organization for over ten years, and you have come to know him as an employee who is both reliable and trustworthy. Though Jeffery's job position is storeroom clerk, the responsibilities he has gained throughout the years include receiving and inventory. Recently, you have heard your other employees complaining that supplies are not being maintained as they should be. Frequently, the other employees tell you they do not have the supplies to perform their job duties, and this is beginning to reflect upon their own job performance. Checking the inventory sheets, you find that supplies are up to par and that there is no indication of ever running out of any supplies. You suspect that Jeffery has been stealing. What do you do?

If your hospitality organization has an established employee assistance program and you have had training in dealing with employee problems, your approach with Jeffery is likely to be one of intervention as opposed to the all too frequent confrontation approach. What if Jeffery has a substance dependency? What if Jeffery's wife left him with three children to feed and clothe? What if Jeffery's mother is a victim of cancer or if he has a friend in his care with AIDS? Do any of these situations condone Jeffery stealing from your storeroom? Would you have more compassion for Jeffery if his wife had left him than if he had a substance dependency or was caring for an AIDS victim?

None of these situations, which are just a sample of the type of personal problems your employees might bring with them to the workplace, is a justification for stealing. On the other hand, Jeffery has been a valued employee; all of his performance appraisals for the past ten years reflect that. When you intervene in the situation, you find out that, indeed, Jeffery has a chemical dependency. That afternoon he enters into a twenty-eight-day treatment center for addicts.

What we have just presented to you is an oversimplification of how having an EAP in your organization can assist you in retaining your valued employees, and help another human being get his life back on the right track (Figure 13-1). Companies throughout the United States have discovered that Employee Assistance Programs are not only effective in reclaiming "lost" employees and lost productivity, but that they also provide positive reinforcement to already productive employees to enable them to do their best work. Assisting employees, regardless of the personal issue or motivation, is beneficial to both the long-term interests of the hospitality organization and society.


A Historical Perspective

In the 1920s, occupational counseling programs were established in companies to help employees deal with personal problems that were causing deficient performance in the workplace. Substance abuse programs, in particular those dealing with alcoholism, can be found at Dupont in the 1940s. The establishment of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the promotion of using performance evaluations to discover alcoholics at an early stage, and the recognition by the American Medical Association (AMA) of alcoholism as a disease in the late 1960s all helped to support the need for employers to assist the alcoholic employee with recovery.

The drug-abuse crisis of the 1960s and 1970s brought drug- and alcohol-abuse programs together under the auspices of "substance" abuse. During the same time period, the changing demographics in the United States saw a weakening of the family structure and more single-parent households resulting in family, child, legal, and financial personal problems for many of the nation's employees. Mental and emotional problems were seen as illnesses, not as a social stigma. Basically, any personal problems that could adversely affect work performance are candidates for coverage under employee assistance programs. If your people are not able to function well in their personal lives, it is unlikely that they will be able to function effectively when they enter the hospitality workplace.

As demographics change, the problems covered by EAPs must evolve in response to the needs of the employees. Relating to family issues, the 1970s and 1980s saw child care at the forefront; in the 1990s the concerns expanded to parenting young children or teenagers. One of the most recent areas of concern is that of elder care and its obligations on employees in the workplace. In a survey of 1,050 major U.S. employers, 26 percent offered elder care benefits. Of those offering these benefits, 77 percent offered resource and referral services and 19 percent offered counseling services. (1)

Employee Assistance Programs have broadened in scope way beyond the original employer's involvement in programs dealing specifically with alcoholism. In the hospitality industry ITT Sheraton was one of the first hotel chains to offer EAP services in each of its 400 hotel properties. (2) Today numerous other companies such as Marriott, Opryland Hotel, Red Lobster, Walt Disney World, ARAMARK, Brinker International, Bristol Hotels & Resorts, and Burger King Corporation--to name just a few--have invested in Employee Assistance Programs for their people.

Any one of these problems can, and does, cause impaired job performance in the hospitality industry, as well as every other industry in the United States today. The term Employee Assistance Program, first used in the 1970s, broadened the scope of problems covered. Table 13-1 identifies some of the problems that can be included in an EAP.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) has had a direct effect on the expansion of services provided for under EAPs. The ADA considers an individual to have a "disability" if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Because persons with HIV have physical impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities, they are a protected class under this legislation. In June 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court passed down its first AIDS-related ruling, and found that a Maine woman infected with the virus that causes AIDS is protected from discrimination under the American with Disabilities Act. Employers can no longer discriminate against persons with HIV or AIDS in any of their employment practices, including but not limited to, recruitment, application procedures, hiring, placement, training and development, promotions, discipline, and performance appraisals. Employee Assistance Programs can greatly help in supporting ADA legislation.

What Is an Employee Assistance Program?

We define an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in the hospitality industry as an employer-provided program that is used as a management tool to assist employees in dealing with personal problems before they seriously impair job performance. Employee assistance programs do not claim to be a panacea for performance deficiencies, nor do they claim to turn every employee with personal problems into a full-fledged contributing member of your work team. However, as company-sponsored programs they are designed to alleviate problems that employees face that hinder their effectiveness in the hospitality workplace.

For the employee who is willing to admit his or her problems and seek assistance in their resolution, EAPs provide a means by which the employee can do so, and still keep working. For the employee who is at the early stages of a potential problematic situation, EAPs offer a place the employee can turn to for advice and counseling without fear that doing so will result in the loss of his or her job. For the employer, EAPs provide a course of corrective action and disciplinary procedures that can protect the employer from a lawsuit if the situation results in a termination (Figure 13-2). It also becomes another retention tool in a period when losing an employee with personal problems can create operational problems.

The skyrocketing costs of health care make EAPs a complementary component of the entire benefits package. A strong emphasis is placed on the preventive aspects of the EAP. By creating an attitude in the workplace environment that says, "everyone has personal problems, and we realize that those problems will affect your job performance if you don't seek help as quickly as possible; here is a program that is designed to do that for you," your employees are more likely to seek help before they reach a crisis stage with their problem.


Jim Tye, former Director of Employment for
Furr's/Bishop's Cafeterias, L.P., was involved
with his company's EAP and offers the following
thoughts: "Anyone who has been in the
hospitality industry for any length of time will
tell you that one of the greatest satisfactions
comes from seeing the growth and development
of others. At the same time, the very
nature of our business affords us an incredible
opportunity to help others. Employee
Assistance Programs carry that mission a step
further: the commitment by a corporation to
formally and systematically assist employees
with specific problems becomes a very human
statement, as well as having long-term effects
on productivity and profitability for the company.
One need only witness families reunited;
troubled children returned to healthful, productive
activities from a bout with drugs or
alcohol; or financial counseling aid a family
deeply in debt to really appreciate the human
side of what we can do."


Clearly, EAPs convey an "I care" message to the people working in your hospitality organization. They are humanistic and serve to exemplify sound human resources management practices. In addition, they encourage your employees to improve their lifestyles by confronting their problems early on. For employees whose personal problems have already reached crisis proportions, the EAP provides them with an opportunity to get their lives back on the right track, while it allows them to remain employed.

Perhaps some of you are thinking, "This all sounds nice, but let's get real. Who has the time and money to fool with a goody-goody program like an EAP? Besides, the chances of an employee having a personal problem so bad that it affects his or her productivity is slim. Furthermore, if an employee has a problem it's the employee's problem, not mine. I get paid to manage this operation, not hold someone's hand!" To address some of these issues that you might be raising let's first look at how extensive the problems are, and then examine what the "troubled" employee costs U.S. businesses each year.

The Scope of the Problem

The United States Department of Labor estimates that 71 percent of illegal drug users are employed. This translates into over 10 million employed people who are current users of illicit drugs. Of those individuals that called the cocaine helpline, 75 percent reported using drugs on the job, 64 percent admitted that their use of drugs adversely affected their job performance, 44 percent admitted selling drugs to other employees, and 18 percent had stolen from their coworkers to support their drug habit.

The combined studies by a number of different workplace drug agencies and institutes indicates the following:

* Marijuana use is increasing.

* Abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise.

* Low unemployment rates makes it harder to eliminate all drug users from the workplace.

* Drug users are moving to small businesses. (Less likely chance of a small to mid-size operation conducting drug screening.)

* Drug sales have moved from the street to the workplace.

* Substance abuse by women is on the increase.

* Young employees tend to be more comfortable with drug use. (3)

Drug abuse includes both illegal and legal drugs.

See Table 13-2 for a list of indicators of chemical dependency in the workplace.

Alcohol abuse is another work-related problem. Documentation from the hospitality industry suggests that usage might be higher for our employees. Some reasons for this include the consistent availability of alcohol, working conditions that include exposure to high temperatures, the different working hours our employees work, and an all too frequent acceptance of drinking by management. (4)

What is even more shocking is that a government survey that looked at substance abuse by industry found that employees in eating and drinking establishments had the highest rate of illicit drug use, and the second highest rate of heavy drinking of all U.S. occupations surveyed. In a survey of full-time workers from 1991 to 1993, 16.3 percent of workers at eating and drinking establishments said that they currently used illicit drugs. This was more than any other industry in the survey. Additionally, 15.4 percent of the full-time employees stated that they drank heavily (defined as five or more drinks on five or more occasions within the past thirty days). (5) The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that one in every ten people in this country has an alcohol problem.

The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) states that more than 51 million Americans have a mental disorder, yet only about 16 percent seek treatment. It is believed that a majority of the Americans who commit suicide each year have a mental disorder. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. (6) Clinical depression is experienced by 17.6 million adult Americans each year with only one third seeking treatment. It is estimated that depression costs $43.7 billion annually to the U.S. economy, including a $23.8 billion loss in absenteeism and lost productivity to American businesses according to the National Mental Health Association's National Public Education Campaign on Clinical Depression. On January 1, 1998, the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 went into effect. This Act requires all employers with fifty or more employees that offer a group health plan to ensure the equal existence of benefits for mental conditions as compared to physical conditions.

Mental wellness has become an important goal of industry.

Costs of the "Troubled" Employee

Why does this matter to you, the manager with human resources responsibilities? Employees working under the influence of drugs or alcohol function at approximately two thirds of their potential. Substance-abusing employees are three times as likely to use sick leave benefits, three times as likely to have accidents on the job, use their health benefits four times more often then other employees, miss work five times more frequently, and lower the overall productivity of the work force.

It is estimated that each year alcohol abuse and alcoholism cost the U.S. economy $148 billion; drug abuse and dependence cost an estimated $98 billion annually.7 It is believed that alcoholism alone causes 500 million lost workdays each year. The National Mental Health Organization estimates economic costs of mental illness at $147.8 billion each year. A byproduct of drug- and alcohol-related problems is in the area of workplace violence. One of the four top reasons for the rise in workplace violence is drug- and alcohol-related problems. Domestic violence is on the rise and with it the spillover effect into the workplace. It is estimated that domestic violence costs anywhere from $3 to $10 billion annually in loss productivity due to absenteeism, employee turnover, and health-care expenses. (8)

In addition to the personal problems already identified is the nation's AIDS crisis and the effect it is having on the hospitality industry. The impact of this disease continues to be devastating and will continue to be so until a cure is found. Indirect costs include lost productivity while health care expenses are escalating due to intensive care needs and premature mortality.

Attendance, productivity, use of health care benefits, safety, behavior, and work quality are all affected by the personal problems our employees bring with them to the hospitality workplace. We hope that you now are in agreement that the development of an employee assistance program can benefit your hospitality organization.

These programs can assist employees with a wide range of problems that they may be encountering in their personal lives. Having an employee assistance program available to your employees can help prevent these problems from escalating, leading to a happier and healthier work force (Figure 13-3). Let's now look at the types of EAPs most commonly found, and then discuss how to develop and implement a program.



Employee Assistance Programs vary in their approach among hospitality organizations. Despite this diversity, they all maintain the same goals of identifying employees with personal problems that may be affecting their job performance, providing an avenue for those employees to seek counseling and help, and maintaining the confidentiality of the employee(s) participating in the program.

Even the smallest hospitality company can implement an EAP. The most popular method for companies that can't afford to operate their own program and are too small to have a contractor, or third-party provider, come in and provide one for them is the consortium. In a consortium, several small hospitality companies or operations would band together, possibly structuring themselves as a private, nonprofit corporation. Each of the member companies would pay a flat rate based upon its average use of the EAP per employee.

In-House EAPs

Hospitality organizations that provide in-house EAPs have to be large enough to support a professional EAP Director and, if necessary, a counseling staff. The remainder of the human resources management staff will also require some training and education as to the use of the EAP in established human resources practices, such as corrective action procedures.

One of the greatest disadvantages of operating an in-house EAP is the potential lack of confidentiality. For the EAP to be successful, the confidentiality of the employee using the services has to be guaranteed. Information from any part of the EAP, including the counseling sessions, never becomes part of the employee's personnel file. If your people do not believe that confidentiality will be maintained, they will not fully use the services the program offers to them.

The advantage of operating an in-house program is that you have greater management control over the program itself. Your company will hire the counseling staff, and they will become members of your hospitality organization.

Contracted-Out EAPs

Just as with any contracted service, the EAP provider offers assessment and counseling services for a fee. These services are offered in a location outside of the work site, assuring confidentiality. To be of maximum benefit, however, the off-site location of the contracted-out EAP must be accessible to your work force.

Usually, the service will also include telephone counseling that is aimed at crisis intervention. This crisis intervention uses a hot-line style, and it offers complete anonymity to the troubled employee. Counselors discuss the problem with the employee, and if they feel therapy is needed, the employee is referred to an outside resource. The costs of these programs vary depending on the number of employees using the program and the types of services the contractor provides.

Caution must be exercised when selecting a third-party provider to provide EAP services for your employees. It is important that the provider understand the hospitality industry and its unique pressures and stresses. The hours our employees work can oftentimes be straight around-the-clock with no days off. The contractor you select must be willing to meet the needs and schedules of your staff. EAP specialists and professional counselors should be licensed or certified. You do not want amateurs counseling your valued employees. Most employee assistance programs today are contracted-out. Use the same care and consideration you would use before entering into any type of contractual arrangement with a service provider.


An effective EAP provides a system of education for all employees in the hospitality organization. This serves to explain how the EAP works and stresses its confidentiality. Supervisors are taught how to identify performance deficiencies that may be due to personal problems. An emphasis is placed on not diagnosing or judging the employee. Rather, the supervisors are taught to refer the troubled employee to the appropriate resource.


Development begins with an assessment of the needs of your organization and takes into consideration the following elements:

* Review of organizational profile.

* Review of current benefits program. (After all, an EAP should be a new benefit).

* Review of employee policies and procedures.

* Determine extent of start-up program, what type(s) of assistance will be provided.

* Determine test market. Ideally, you would identify test units (in each region/division) to determine employee acceptance and to work out any problems before implementing companywide.

* Determine resource requirements. Will extra staff be needed? What role will operations play? What is the approximate cost?

Once your hospitality organization has determined its needs and the extent of the EAP, an action plan must be initiated. The action plan will:

* Schedule activities.

* Assign responsibilities.

* Update administration.

* Reinforce management commitment and support.


The core of the implementation process is the establishment of a policy statement on the EAP and how it will operate. This policy must be written, published, and distributed to all employees. This communication is critical to the acceptance and success of the program. Employees must view the EAP as a benefit, not as an invasion of privacy.

Specific procedures need to be developed with respect to:

* Supervisory referral.

* Self-referral.

* Confidentiality.

A choice needs to be made based upon your company's needs and objectives as to whether you are going to select an in-house or contracted-out type of program. Supervisory training and employee orientation then follow.


Compared to the costs of other benefits, EAPs are relatively inexpensive. This is largely due to the small proportion of employees who use the program. You should check into your health insurance plans to make sure that they will accommodate the occasional employee who needs extensive treatment and hospitalization.

The literature contains much information on the effectiveness of EAPs. This effectiveness ranges from reduced absenteeism to improved retention to literally saving lives. What hospitality operator wouldn't enjoy knowing that there will be fewer employees calling in sick, quitting, or coming to work late?

Employee assistance programs can also serve to reduce the rising cost of health care and Worker's Compensation claims. Better job performance is frequently the end result. Compared to the high cost of termination, EAP expenses are nominal (Figure 13-4).


The following are some ways you might measure or evaluate the effectiveness of your EAP:

* Usage

* Direct feedback

* Comparative costs/cost containment


--Health benefits



--Worker's Compensation

Historical data are a necessity in order to make a significant comparative cost-savings analysis.


Once your EAP is firmly in place and clearly communicated to all employees, and training has been conducted for all persons involved, how does a troubled employee take advantage of the program? There are basically two paths. In the first--80 percent of all cases--the employees contact the program directly. The remainder of the cases are referrals by supervisors who notice a decline in performance levels.

On-line supervisors are the best persons to notice a change in performance or personal behavior, because they observe employees on a daily basis. When a decline in performance or behavior occurs, the supervisor confronts the employee in an attempt to determine the cause. This intervention is an important component of the EAP, as it frequently works to break the pattern of denial in which many troubled employees are trapped. As we noted in the previous chapter, performance decline can be caused by factors other than personal problems. If the condition appears to be related to personal problems, the employee is referred to the EAP staff.

Once you have attempted to assist the employee through the corrective interview, it is your responsibility to continue monitoring performance. The employee can take one of two paths: seek help and improve performance, or refuse assistance, in which case standard corrective action practices are implemented. At each stage of the corrective action process, EAP participation is offered, again in an attempt to break the denial pattern. Participation in the EAP is not a substitute for maintaining acceptable job performance standards.


The AIDS epidemic affects us all. For the hospitality manager, as with managers in all types of businesses throughout this country, knowledge and understanding of AIDS are critical for your success. What will you tell the housekeeper who won't clean a room because he or she fears the person(s) staying there might have AIDS? What do you tell your server who refuses to wait on a table for the same reason? What do you say to the guest who asks if any of your cooks has AIDS? What if an employee cuts himself in the kitchen, and the other workers are afraid of contracting AIDS? What do you tell an employee who comes to you in fear that he may have AIDS or be HIV positive? AIDS is and will be one of the personal problems your employees may seek help with through your employee assistance program. The confidential nature of the EAP provides a natural setting and a valuable counseling tool in dealing with the depression employees face that receive a positive antibody test, the loss of a friend or family member, or an AIDS diagnosis themselves (Figure 13-5). It is for these reasons and because of the many misconceptions about AIDS that we include this section.


The Facts

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was discovered in 1983. It is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is a virus that, when active, destroys the body's defense system against disease and infection. It is transmitted through sexual contact, an injection with infected blood, shared needles (commonly associated with drug addiction), or passed by infected mothers to their newborn babies through birth or breast feeding. HIV can disable the body's immune system and destroy it's ability to fight diseases. These are the only documented methods by which HIV has been contracted/transmitted.

The term AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Before researchers discovered HIV, they referred to the set of symptoms and diseases characterized by a total breakdown of the immune system as "AIDS." This definition was later changed to include any person who was infected with HIV or who had an advanced breakdown of the immune system. When a person is given an AIDS diagnosis by a doctor, it means that they are infected with HIV or that they have one of a number of diseases or cancers. Once a person is given an AIDS diagnosis, he or she is always considered to have AIDS even if he or she recovers from the disease that diagnosed them.

HIV cannot be spread by casual contact. Although there is much that is not known about HIV, it is known how HIV is and is not transmitted. To become infected with HIV, it must get into your blood. Did you know that according to federal food safety officials, HIV cannot be transmitted through the preparation or service of food? Food simply cannot be contaminated with HIV. HIV is not transmitted through kissing, hugging, shaking hands, or insect bites. According to C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service, no AIDS cases have occurred from using swimming pools or hot tubs, sharing linen, or touching toilets or telephones.

If this is true, then where has all the hysteria come from surrounding the AIDS epidemic? The fact that, to date, there is no known cure is part of the reason. The other scary aspect of AIDS is that HIV is a "sleeper." That means that the virus can lay dormant inside a human carrier for years before it begins to attack the nervous system. Carriers can pass HIV for years before they know they have it, unless they seek a specific blood test to determine if HIV antibodies are present. It also means that the exact scope of the AIDS epidemic is, at present, still unknown. In 1998 it was estimated that over 30 million people were living with HIV worldwide, that an estimated 800,000 Americans were living with HIV, and that at least 40,000 new infections were occurring each year in the United States. Worldwide, the rate of new infections in developing countries was perceived as out of control with twenty-seven countries seeing their HIV infection rates more than doubling. AIDS killed as many people as malaria in 1997.9 Of the 40,000 new infections that occurred in the United States, half will be under the age of 25. Women, young people, and minorities are the most likely to contract HIV. As a manager with human resources responsibilities in the hospitality industry, AIDS will continue to make a business impact. Hospitality organizations have lost talent while coworkers have grieved colleagues, friends, and family members. We must continue to be aware of HIV/AIDS in the hospitality workplace.

The Hospitality Manager and AIDS

How specifically does this impact you, the manager with human resources responsibilities, in a hospitality operation? Only through education can you intelligently and accurately answer the types of questions your employees might ask you, questions similar to those we asked you at the beginning of this section.

The education, however, does not stop with you. Part of your responsibility will also be to educate the people working for you, and in some cases the educational process will extend to the public that enters your establishment with its own fears and concerns. The workplace provides an excellent setting for this type of education. The National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Motel Association have both responded to the need for information. Each organization has produced educational materials for both you and your employees.

One of the key points that both associations make is that there is nothing unique about AIDS in the hospitality industry. Hospitality is facing this crisis along with all other industries. Educational programs and operating procedures cover all communicable diseases. Current disinfecting methods and sanitary food-handling procedures already in effect in the hospitality industry guard against all forms of communicable diseases, including AIDS. (10)

The other arena in which AIDS affects all businesses is in benefits planning and design. For AIDS victims, medical coverage becomes a number one concern. Although victims cannot be fired under the law, they still require medical coverage when the disease leaves them physically unable to work. Laws such as the 1986 Budget Reconciliation Act require that companies with over twenty employees that offer group insurance rates continue coverage for up to eighteen months after the employee leaves the company.

Education is our most effective weapon in reducing the potential hysteria that can be created. The National Restaurant Association has outlined the following four steps in a crisis program:

1. Assemble a crisis team. This is done before a crisis strikes. The team is trained to handle any crisis that the operation may face, be it a fire or AIDS.

2. Develop an AIDS policy statement that explains the company's position for both employees and guests.

3. Educate your employees.

4. Develop an AIDS communication strategy.

There are many problems relating to HIV/AIDS that you will have to deal with in the workplace. These range from rising health benefits costs to emotional distress to possible discrimination suits to guest hysteria. The more you read and learn about AIDS, the better prepared you will be to handle these situations.

According to Jim Tye, "As the hospitality
industry continues to grow amid what will
surely be a shrinking labor pool, the role of a
basic Employee Assistance Program will
become increasingly important. Employee
Assistance Programs, when properly developed,
implemented, and evaluated have
shown the potential for dramatic impact on a
company's financial position when considered
only in the areas of employee retention, safety,
and productivity. Of course, there is the
very important benefit, almost an intangible,
of knowing that the company is genuinely
interested in helping others."


To management, and in particular to human resources management, the dollars and cents logic in support of EAPs clearly speaks for itself. Conservative estimates place the cost to industry from personal, employee-related problems to be in excess of $50 billion per year with, in addition, as much as 25 percent productivity lost at all levels. One major corporation with a well-established assistance program has seen a five to one return on its investment, a 49 percent decrease in the use of health benefits, and a 61 percent decrease in on-the-job accidents. In today's competitive, cost-conscious business environment, figures such as these indeed become very significant. With the impending impact of AIDs yet to have reached its full potential, future human resources professionals in our industry must be ready to assume these responsibilities.

The goal of any EAP is to return the employee to full productivity, whenever possible. An effective EAP catches the personal problems at a very early stage and, in many cases, prevents more serious concerns from occurring. Your employees are your most valuable asset. Employee Assistance Programs convey that message.

As a manager of a medium-size resort property
located in a secluded geographical area, you are
in the middle of a very busy season, having been
able to attract several small conference groups.

One morning after a particularly busy weekend,
your executive housekeeper comes to you
with a problem. Her housekeepers have told her
that they will not clean several of their assigned
rooms, as they strongly believe that the guests
staying in those rooms could have AIDS. Your
executive housekeeper is not sure what to do.
Getting employees to work at your location is
very difficult, and the housekeeping department is
filled with good, reliable staff. The executive
housekeeper tells you that she would clean the
rooms herself, but she is not entirely sure that
she might not be putting herself at risk.

There are several options that you as the
manager with human resources responsibilities
have available to you. Identify each of them and
then discuss which of the alternative courses of
action you would choose. (Hint: You have two
issues that you are dealing with in this case problem.
The first is the immediate concern of getting
the rooms cleaned. You have all rooms reserved
for this evening. The second issue revolves
around the lack of information and misconceptions
your staff has about AIDS and its transmission
from person to person.)


You are the district human resources manager of
a regional chain of cafeteria food-service operations.
Many of the operational managers have
indicated over a period of time that no-shows
and absentee turnover ratios have been gradually
increasing. The president of the company has
asked you to investigate the possibility of establishing
an employee assistance program in an
effort to curb this trend. She has asked you to
prepare an initial three-page report that will provide
her with the following information:

* A goal statement for the EAP

* An itemized list of the personal problem
areas that this EAP would cover

* Whether you would recommend an in-house
or contracted-out EAP

* A defense for the role an EAP would have in
the human resources management plan for
your hospitality organization

* Your personal view of EAPs


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

contracted-out EAP

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

in-house EAP


Mental Health Parity Act of 1996

personal problems

substance abuse

"troubled" employee


American Red Cross. 1998. Basic HIV/AIDS Program Facts Book. The American National Red Cross.

Bahls, J. E. 1998. "Dealing With Drugs Keep It Legal." HR Magazine. (4 October 1998).

Beller, L. 1995. "Elder Care's Growing Presence as an HR Matter." Benefits & Compensation Solution 17(October): 20-21.

Berridge, J., C. Highley-Marchington, C. L. Cooper, and J. C. Highley. 1997. Employee Assistance Programmes and Workplace Counselling. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Canoni, J. D. 1998. How the Supreme Court's HIV-Infection and Sexual Harassment Decisions Affect Employers. (3 October 1998).

Dulen, J. 1997. "Fixed Media." Restaurants & Institutions, February 15. Flynn, G. 1996. "Get the Best from Employees with Learning Disabilities." Personnel Journal 75(1): 76-84.

--. 1998. "Why Employees Are So Angry." Personnel Journal 77(9): 26-32.

Guhr, L. 1997. "Hidden Costs Involved with an On-the-Job Alcoholic." Wichita Business Journal, November 10.

Pincus, L. B. and S. M. Trivedi. 1994. "A Time for Action: Responding to AIDS." Training & Development 48(1): 45-51.

President's Drug Advisory Council. Drugs Don't Work in Your Workplace. Washington, DC: President's Drug Advisory Council, Executive Office of the President.

Rager, R., L. Lamson, and L. Castner. 1990. "Employee Wellness Programs for the Hospitality Industry: Some Promising New Approaches for Human Resource Development." Hospitality Research Journal 14(2): 643-645.


1. American Counseling Association:

2. American Red Cross--HIV/AIDS:

3. National AIDS Fund:

4. Business Responds to AIDS and Labor Responds to AIDS Resource Service:

5. HIV/AIDS Workplace Toolkit:

6. National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information:

7. The National Mental Health Association:

8. Employee Assistance Professionals Association:

9. Establish a Workplace Program:


1. What is an Employee Assistance Program?

2. Identify several personal problems that you think could be handled by an Employee Assistance Program.

3. How do EAPs fit into the corrective action process?

4. Describe the differences between an in-house and a contracted-out EAP.

5. Describe the development and implementation process for an Employee Assistance Program in the segment of the hospitality industry you hope to work in.

6. Are EAPs cost-effective? Explain your answer.

7. What is the effect of HIV/AIDS in the workplace? What is the best tool against HIV/AIDS?

8. Would you implement an EAP where you work? Why or why not?

Mary L. Tanke, Ph. D.

Florida International University


(1.) Kate Walter, "Elder Care Obligations," HR Magazine, 1996. (6 June 1996).

(2.) Leslee Jacquette, "Delta Will Help Employees Solve Problems," Hotel & Motel Managment 207, no. 17 (1992): p. 34.

(3.) Jane Ester Bahls, "Drugs in the Workplace," HR Magazine. 1998. (4 October 1998).

(4.) Jim Peters, "How to Set Up an Employee Assistance Program," Restaurant Business 87, no. 15 (1988): pp. 81-83, 90, 99.

(5.) Lisa Jennings, "From the Frying Pan ... into the Bottle; Food-Service Workers Run High Risk of Substance Abuse." The Commercial Appeal. November 11, 1998. (15 November 1998).

(6.) National Mental Health Association, "MHIC: Mental Illness and the Family: Mental Health Statistics." MHIC Factsheet. 1997. (15 March 1999).

(7.) National Institute on Drug Abuse and The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, "The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in the United States--1992." Executive Summary. 1998. (15 March 1999).

(8.) Stephenie Overman, "Preventing Domestic Violence from Spilling Over into the Workplace," Restaurants USA 17, no. 7 (1997): p. 36.

(9.) HIVInSite, "How Many People have HIV?" Back to Basics. 1998. (15 March 1999).

(10.) Doreen Bell, "AIDS Prevention Practices," Lodging Hospitality 44, no. 2 (1988): p. 92.
TABLE 13-1 Problems Covered by an EAP

* Alcohol abuse
* Alcohol dependency
* Career development difficulties
* Children/adolescent
* Depression/burnout
* Domestic violence
* Drug abuse
* Elder-care issues
* Emotional difficulties
* English as a second language
* Family issues
* Gambling, compulsive
* Legal problems
* Life transition
* Literacy
* Marital difficulties
* Mental health
* Personal financial problems
* Psychological
* Single parenting
* Stress-related problems

TABLE 13-2 Indicators of Chemical Dependency in the Workplace

Place an "X" next to behaviors exhibited by employee, or reported to
you by others. More than four "Xs" should alert you that some problem


[ ] Frequent Monday or Friday absences.

[ ] Longer or more frequent absences.

[ ] Multiple instances of unauthorized leaving work

[ ] Excessive morning or noontime tardiness.

[ ] Increased number of "cuts" during work day.

[ ] Difficulty in concentrating.

[ ] Difficulty in recalling simple instructions.

[ ] Increased inability to learn from or recall
previous mistakes.

[ ] Alternating periods of high and low work

[ ] Marked inattention to detail.

[ ] Increased overt boredom, tiredness, or disruptive

[ ] Marked decline in productivity.

[ ] Missed deadlines.

[ ] Increased excuses for incomplete, missing, or
unacceptable work.

[ ] Increased signs of disorientation; frequent
instances of loss of train of thought.

[ ] Sleeping on the job.

[ ] Less responsible about doing assignments.


[ ] Decreased interaction with peers and family.

[ ] Change in peer groups.

[ ] Hypersensitivity to perceived or actual criticism.

[ ] Withdrawal from previous friends.

[ ] Drastic changes in personality.

[ ] Coworkers or friends talking to you about
employee's behavior or attitude changes.

[ ] Drastic change in taste of music.

[ ] Defending the right to drink or to smoke

[ ] Irritability or lack of emotion.

[ ] Extreme, rapid mood swings without apparent

[ ] Inappropriate emotional responses.

[ ] Loss of previous goals.

[ ] Consistent reports of lost, borrowed, or stolen


[ ] Change in eating or sleeping habits.

[ ] Decreased attention to personal hygiene.

[ ] Appearance of rash around mouth or nose.

[ ] Inappropriate clothing (long sleeves or jackets on
warm days, lightweight attire in cold weather).

[ ] Frequent instance of stiff or painful arms.

[ ] Inappropriate, sudden, and unprecipitated sweats.

[ ] Increased coughing, post-nasal drip, or sore

[ ] Continual symptoms of flu or gastrointestinal

[ ] "Needle tattoos" caused by carbon residue from
heated syringe or substances.

[ ] Selling of personal belongings, with no evidence
or proceeds.

[ ] Dark glasses often and inappropriately worn

[ ] Nicotine spots on thumb and index finger,
particular to pot smoker.

[ ] Change in taste of dress or clothing.


[ ] Are you missing money or other valuables from
your home?

[ ] Is child less responsible about doing chores?

[ ] Do you catch your child in lies?

[ ] Is there an increase in family arguments?

[ ] Do you disapprove of your child's choice of

[ ] Does your child become unresponsive to
discussions about drugs and alcohol?

[ ] Is there open defiance regarding family rules?

[ ] Has your child ever run away from home?

[ ] Has there been violence or hostility toward family

(Source: Glenbeigh Hospital of Miami)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Section 5 Positive Employee Relations: Meeting the Needs of a New Work Force
Author:Tanke, Mary L.
Publication:Human Resources Management for the Hospitality Industry, 2nd ed.
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
Previous Article:Multiculturalism in the hospitality workplace.
Next Article:Chapter 14 Labor relations in the hospitality industry.

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