With protests against racism continuing around the world, many workplaces are finally attempting to challenge — and dismantle — their own systems that uphold racist views and policies. For many companies, well-positioned Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that hold strong relationships with workplace leaders can be part of the solution. The author recommends six actions for EAP professionals, programs, and the workplaces they support.
It may surprise some employers to know that when employees experience racism and/or other forms of discrimination and oppression, one of the places they can turn for help is their Employee Assistance Program or EAP. While EAPs are thought of more often for use by employees for short-term counseling and referrals to help employees manage personal problems so that they don’t interfere with work performance and productivity, it is important to remember that EAPs also provide workplaces with services including organizational assessment, management consultation and strategic crisis prevention and response. It is precisely because of this mix of individual and organizational level of services that EAPs are in a unique position to help employees work through the trauma of racism and to provide workplace leaders with an invaluable insider view of complex workplace problems, including racism.
As a professor and chair of the only Masters in Social Work (MSW)