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Take your service dog to work every day

Federal and State Laws prohibit employment discrimination because of a disability. If an employee needed a wheelchair to get around, we expect all businesses would accommodate the chair, but what happens when the accommodation is a dog? Employers are required to provide reasonable assistance, but what is reasonable? Allowing an individual with a disability to have a service animal or an emotional support animal accompany them to work should be considered an accommodation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the employment provisions of the ADA (Title I), does not have a specific regulation on service animals, but the ADA is a federal law and applies in this case.

With a service animal or an emotional support animal, if the disability is not obvious and/or the reason the animal is needed is not clear, an employer may request documentation to establish the existence of a disability and how the animal helps the individual perform their job. In the case of an Emotional Support Dog, there is no policy regarding them in the ADA regulations.

Documentation might include a detailed description of how the animal would help the employee in performing job tasks and how the animal is trained to behave in the workplace. A person seeking such an accommodation may suggest the employer permit the animal to accompany them to work on a trial basis. This would aid the employer in confirming the dog will not be a distraction and interfere with the daily flow of business.

Both service and emotional support animals may be excluded from the workplace if they pose either an undue hardship or a direct threat in the workplace.

The real question is, can that employee function normally during the workday without the assistance of their dog? Some employees think only in the case of a Seeing Eye Dog, would an employee need to bring their service dog to work. I have a Diabetic Alert Dog and I can go days without an issue, but my dog needs to be with me at all times, so he can react when I do have a medical need to be alerted to. You, as the handler, need to be able to clearly explain to your employer your need for your dog to be with you at all times. If there is still doubt, then obtain documentation from your doctor. Even with good documentation, there will be rare exceptions that just can not be accommodated by the employer.

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