November 6 Tip of the Week

Service Animal Requests

Have you ever had an employee request to bring a service animal to work and wondered how to handle the situation?  While service animals obviously provide a very necessary service to those in need, they can be problematic at work.  Whether it be because the role is safety sensitive, the workplace environment must remain sterile, or other employees suffer severe allergies, service animals in the workplace can perplex even the most seasoned HR professionals.  The Americans with Disabilities Act is not a huge help in this realm either because unlike service animals in public accommodations, the statute covering service animals in the workplace doesn’t define what a service animal is and doesn’t exclude emotional support animals.  If an employee makes a request to bring their service animal to the workplace, the employer must consider whether that accommodation is reasonable and whether any undue burden exists to deny the request.   To help with the decision-making process about whether an employee’s request to bring a service animal in the workplace is a reasonable accommodation, contact one of our attorneys at myHRcounsel to help in the analysis.