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Employment Law/Termination and EAP



I have question about EAPS. Does an employer have an obligation to let their employees know that they offer EAPs? I am asking because I was terminated from my job due to poor work performance.

I was having major personal problems at the time. My employer apparently had an EAP like program set up for me and approved by the Board of Directors. However, I was never informed of this nor was I ever asked if I was having personal problems.

Here's additional info that may be helpful...

I'm a white female over 40. I am not disabled and maintained satisfactory job evaluations before my personal issues. I was employed for 11 years 1 month. I had not made any complaints to management or HR. MY SUPERVISOR WAS ACTUALLY ALSO THE HR MANAGER OF THE COMPANY SO I DID NOT HAVE ANYONE TO COMPLAIN TO.

SHE ALSO TOLD ME ONCE THAT IF I EVER WENT TO THE BOARD OR CEO ABOUT AN ISSUE I HAD WITH HER, I WOULD BE IN BIG TROUBLE. I have no proof that she made that comment. She was very careful to not say things within earshot of other people. To my knowledge the EAP was not mentioned to other employees and there's nothing about it in the employee handbook.  

I am curious, have any of my rights been violated? Also, what is the point of having an EAP if the employee is never informed it exists?



It doesn't make much sense to have an EAP and not tell employees about it, but there is no legal requirement to do so, absent a union contract or private employment contract provision containing such a requirement.

Illinois is a state which recognizes the legal doctine of "employment at will."  This means an employer may terminate someone's employment for any reason or no reason, so long as the termination does not violate any applicable law against discrimination (such as based on race, sex, age, disability status or veteran status) or against retaliation for filing or participating in various types of administrative or legal claims or investigations.  The law does not prohibit unfairness.

If in thinking over your situation you believe it's possible that you were discriminated against because you are female or over 40, you might want to contact a local employment attorney for advice.  You can get attorney referrals through the website of your city or county Bar Association, which can be located through a simple Internet search.  Also, if you were an hourly employee, you should consider whether you were properly compensated for all the time you worked, including overtime at "time and a half" for any hours worked in excess of 40 in any work week.

Discrimination complaints can be lodged with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (, and wage/hour complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (

I'm sorry I couldn't give you more encouraging news, but I hope this is helpful.

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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