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Ask Worklogic: Service Animals in the Workplace

Question: 

Do we have to accommodate a service animal if we have employees that are allergic?


Answer: 

The answer is, “Yes”. 

Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), registered service animals are allowed in all areas of public access, although it doesn’t state specifics about workplaces. Title I of the ADA specifies that employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for employees who have disabling conditions and request their service animal with them at work. However, if accommodating the disabled employee creates health issues for other employees, the employer has several options. This can include assigning a special work area for the disabled employee and service animal, away from the allergic employees. The employer may also provide air filtering systems and thoroughly clean the office on a regular basis to reduce pet dander and hair.

Alternative working arrangements, such as telecommuting or working hours that differ from the disabled employee, may also be a viable option. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has additional guidelines about employees with service animals.

Disclaimer: The information and resources provided herein are not a substitute for experienced legal counsel and does not constitute legal advice or attempt to address the numerous factual issues that inevitably arise in any employment-related dispute. Although this information attempts to cover some major recent developments, it is not all-inclusive, and any recommendations are based upon HR best practices and procedures. We recommend you consult an attorney for legal guidance.

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