NEWS from LIFE, Inc.

How to accommodate workers with service animals

Service animals can be trained to assist owners with conditions ranging from visual and hearing impairments to PTSD and diabetes. While these animals undoubtably provide real assistance to their owners, workplace policies aren’t always clearly defined when it comes to accommodating workers with service animals.
   Here are some recommendations for employers:
Check your policies: If you have a no-animals policy, the request to bring a service animal is a request to modify that policy. Do it on a case-by-case basis, and take consideration of other employees who may have fear or be allergic. x
Request documentation: You have the right to request documentation or demonstration of the need for the service animal. The employee’s documentation will come from a physician, proof of training likely will not. You can ask what service it provides and that it not be disruptive in the workplace environment. Suggest a trial period.
Inform other employees: Because of confidentiality, be careful how you inform employees there will be a service animal in the workplace. Ask the employee how they would like to educate their colleagues. Also, the animal is working, so educate that they are not to pet, play or interfere with the animals work.
Accommodate animal care: The employee is responsible for care, but may need an area for the animal to relieve itself. Set expectations for the number of breaks, and the disposal of the animal’s waste.
Consider other employees: There may be the occasional issue with allergies or phobia. You may need to move employees further apart, provide an enclosed workspace, install air purifiers and regularly clean carpets.
A great resource on this topic can be found at the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

LIFE, Inc. – Living Independently for Everyone!
640 Pershing Ave Ste 7, Pocatello ID 83204
(208) 232-2747 VOICE/TDD
(208) 232-2754 FAX
(800) 631-2747

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(208) 529-8610 VOICE
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