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Condition of Continued Employment (COCE)

An agency must receive approval from OA’s SEAP Program Office before engaging in discussions on a condition of continued employment with the employee and/or the union.              

A SEAP referral as a condition of continued employment (COCE) is different from other kinds of SEAP intervention. At earlier levels of intervention, an employee can decide to accept or reject a SEAP referral. The supervisor cannot discipline the employee for refusing to use SEAP. When it is a condition of continued employment, the employee will be terminated for the work-related behavior if he or she does not accept the referral to SEAP.

Employees are not automatically entitled to receive a COCE.  A COCE is most appropriate and effective with an employee who at one time met or exceeded job standards. The purpose is to restore the employee to a productive level of performance. 

Further, the agency may terminate the employee if he or she does not successfully participate in the SEAP referral process or fails to meet acceptable job standards. Involvement in SEAP does not bar further discipline and/or termination. 

COCE Grounds

Grounds for initiating a COCE include at least one of the following:

  • Last chance agreement. Typically, substandard performance issues have been chronic and an employee has exhausted the disciplinary process and is now subject to termination
  • Employee poses a threat to self or others or significantly disrupts the workplace. This type of referral is situational, and there may be no past history of discipline. In these situations, the supervisor should contact the agency/field SEAP Coordinator who will contact OA to discuss the appropriate course of action.
  • Violation of the commonwealth substance abuse policy or other major policy violations. Per                   Management Directive 505.25, an employee who has violated this policy and is not terminated must participate in SEAP as a condition of continued employment. 

Procedures for a COCE are outlined in detail in the SEAP manual.