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Can I bring a Service Dog to Work?

Everywhere we go, there seems to be a service dog around somewhere. For California employees, the issue is whether they can bring such a dog to work. For today’s blog, lets look at the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, which are applicable to California employees.

ADA defines service dogs as “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” This is the definition given by the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. Service dogs are not required to wear special collars or harnesses in all cases, but the person bringing the dog must show that the animal is because of a disability and the “tasks” that the dog performs aids the disabled employee. Under federal law there may be no blanket discrimination, say, by having a “no dogs” policy.

In the employment setting, an employer can request that a dog be removed from the business establishment if it is not restrained; its actions suggest a danger to others or (no surprise here) ┬áit isn’t housebroken. Every day new laws are being developed in this area. For example, what if an employee claims the need to bring an animal other than a dog? kAn entire body of regulations has developed over miniature horses as service animals. As with dogs, the issue is whether the miniature horse is housebroken, is under the owner’s control, whether the facility can accommodate it and whether the horse’s presence will compromise safety. (Old joke: Employee brings Chihuahua to work and the employer asks why. Employee says “its my service dog”. Employer: A Chihuahua? Employee: So that’s what they gave me!”

Stephen Danz & Associates is a statewide California employee-side law firm representing employees only throughout ten offices and 15 associates located in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Pasadena, Fresno, Irvine (Orange County), San Diego, San Bernardino, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles (mid-Wilshire) and our corporate office in Brentwood. Call us anytime for a free consultation! 877 789 9707. Don’t call elsewhere and find yourself barking up the wrong tree!