Chapter 3 Our Workforce
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Postal Service Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides employees and family members with free voluntary, confidential counseling from licensed, professional counselors. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in convenient locations to help with difficulties that affect employees’ lives and work. Issues typically include emotional, financial, legal, chemical dependency, marital, and family matters. EAP provides consultation to managers and supervisors with issues not only involving individual workers, but also their work environment. Ongoing preventive efforts, such as manager coaching and educational seminars on communication and stress management, help employees at all levels to manage difficult situations. EAP provides key support after critical incidents (e.g., natural disasters, workplace and community violence, unexpected death).
In 2007, 49,556 employees and family members received EAP counseling, information, and consultation. Of the more than 21,520 employees who received counseling, 26.7 percent reported a problem that affected their work performance. EAP staff responded to 308 critical incidents and provided assistance to more than 15,969 employees following these incidents. Health and wellness seminars plus training on stress management, elder care, and substance abuse were provided to more than 25,151 employees. EAP also provided services to the many Postal Service employees and family members after the Virginia Tech shootings and the tornado in Alabama.
VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT
The Workplace Environment Advisory Committee is composed of representatives of Postal Service Human Resources, unions, and management associations. Working closely with the Postal Inspection Service and EAP/Workplace Environment Improvement (WEI), this committee uses a standard protocol to identify and address undesirable behavior resulting from individual or systemic problems. EAP/ WEI helps the field by ensuring that local threat assessment and crisis management teams are in place and that training is provided. These teams respond to potential threats and crises to ensure swift resolution and the utmost employee safety.
In March, the Threat Assessment Team Guide was revised to incorporate updated workplace violence prevention information and research, to provide Threat Assessment Teams (TAT) with improved resources and a compliance checklist, and to add the Workplace Environment Analyst and Human Resource Manager to core team membership.
The National Committee on Workplace Violence Prevention (NCWVP) was established in the fall of 2006 and had its inaugural meeting in March 2007. The committee’s purpose is to create an inclusive, national dialog that provides oversight and recommendations to the development and enhancement of policies guiding the Workplace Violence Prevention program. The committee created a National TAT Training Calendar so that districts and areas can coordinate training efforts and attendance at the 2-day training sessions.
NATIONAL WORKPLACE HARASSMENT PREVENTION
The Postal Service is committed to providing its employees a safe, productive, and inclusive workplace. Its national policy states that the Postal Service will not tolerate harassment of any type and will hold all managers responsible for preventing it. Awareness is the key to efforts to ensure a workplace free of unlawful and inappropriate conduct. The Harassment: Initial Management Inquiry Process training program was delivered to managers and supervisors to make certain they have the understanding and skills necessary to respond to harassment complaints. Workplace Harassment Fact-Finding training was developed and conducted for 72 workplace environment analysts and nine alternative dispute resolution coordinators.
The procedure on reporting and investigating Headquarters Unit Employee Harassment Complaints was changed to Headquarters level of control to ensure appropriate resources are available to comply promptly with workplace harassment prevention regulations.