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Can we mandate EAP counseling when employee views porn at work?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Q. Our Internet policy says that if we find employees accessing pornographic web sites, they’ll receive a three-day suspension without pay and a mandatory referral to an EAP counselor. Can we require this?

A
. Employers may require mandatory referral to the company’s employee assistance plan (EAP) for personal, behavioral or job performance issues.

Most often, mandatory referral is made for violations of drug and alcohol policies, for violent behavior and anger management and for harassment policy violations. The mandatory referral usually gives the employee one last chance to turn things around.

Accessing pornographic web sites is not a typical reason for mandating referral to the EAP, especially for the first violation.

In this situation, you may want to consider modifying your policy to provide for the possibility of termination of employment in addition to the three-day suspension, and for a supervisor’s referral to the EAP where the employee has the final decision about contacting the EAP.

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