JEA Vol. 48 no. 2 - 2nd Quarter 2018 

Front Desk
Sexual Assault: An Issue EAPs Must Help Address

By Maria Lund, LEAP, CEAP


Harvey Weinstein. Jerry Richardson. Steve Wynn. Etc. Accusations of sexual harassment perpetrated by high-profile male executives have dominated the news and garnered the attention of HR professionals.  But attention to serious and long-standing cultural and workplace harm also provides an opportunity for positive change. Given the unique role of Certified Employee Assistance Professionals as consultants to both employees and their employers, we are trained and positioned to assist in addressing sexual harassment (and the cultural forces that drive it) in the workplace. 

In this issue’s cover story, Robin Sheridan, JD, MILR, points out that while reporting the incident is often difficult for the affected employee client, it is crucial that a report be made so the abuse can be addressed.  
Employer policies and legal issues come into play with these reports. The article describes the legal protections that EA professionals are afforded in this work. Since we are not necessarily “safe” from employer retaliation, Robin urges readers to be aware of policies and laws in their practice locations. 

Continuing the theme, Nancy Board, MSW, focuses on deeper issues related to sexual assault. Familiarity with local harassment policies and laws is a vital step for the EAP, but Nancy points out that policies and trainings are not enough. Women and men, alongside their EAP, must work together as allies and not combatants. She states, “We are long overdue for a national conversation about the abuse of power and privilege.”

Also popular in the news is the theme of wellness. Many employers are seeking proactive strategies to integrate mental health into their overall wellness plans. As EA professionals, we can help. Julie Marshall and Anna Meiners outline a comprehensive, four-phase program their organization has successfully implemented to create value for their employer clients.

What is the difference between coaching and consulting? How should an EAP market a coaching service? Jason Sackett, LCSW, PCC, CEAP, answers these questions and others in a thought-provoking feature article that might inspire more EAPs to provide coaching for their clients.

Elsewhere in this issue, Jim Wrich, one of the original “Thundering 100”, concludes his three-part series on some of the more important developments and milestones in EAP history. If you want to read the piece in its entirety, find it on the EAPA website. 

Finally, Jeff Harris, Marina London, and John Maynard offer important insights and observations in their respective columns. (Mark Attridge will return in the next JEA.) 

Happy reading.