Service animals and emotional support animals

Service animals and emotional support animals

As a business owner, do you have the right to say NO if an employee requests to bring a service or emotional support animals to your company? What’s the difference between a service and emotional support animal? We will discuss the laws and important differences of each animal and my recommendations on how to address the situation should it arise at your company.

Please let me know if an employee has ever requested a service or emotional support animal at your workplace and how did you handle it.

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10 Comments

  1. You don’t quite understand how the ADA works. Employment law is Title I of the ADA, and neither Service Animals nor ESAs are mentioned. Here is the recommendation about ESAs from the Job Accommodation Network. Remember ESAs are ANY animal, so we might be talking about a goldfish. Be careful of automatically saying no.

    Asking to bring an emotional support animal into the workplace as an accommodation falls under the category of modifying a workplace policy, assuming you have a no-animals policy. So you might want to first look at whether you have such a policy and, if so, can it be modified. The answer typically depends on the employee’s job and the work environment — for instance, there could be some jobs or work environments in which it would be difficult to accommodate someone having a dog with them, regardless of whether it’s a service animal or an emotional support animal. For example, animals might be prohibited in an emergency room (ER) so an ER nurse probably couldn’t have an animal with her while working in the ER.
    Assuming it’s possible to modify the no-animal policy, next you can ask for medical documentation if the disability and need for accommodation are not obvious or already verified. This step is optional, but employers are allowed to request medical documentation when an employee requests an accommodation. Under the ADA, employers only have to consider accommodations that are needed because of a disability.
    Once the need for accommodation is established, the next step is to talk with the employee about whether the emotional support animal is trained to be in a work environment and will be under the employee’s control at all times. Under the ADA, employers do not have to provide any accommodations that pose an undue hardship. One factor in determining undue hardship is whether the accommodation will be unduly disruptive to other employees or to the ability to conduct business.
    Finally, possibly the best way to determine whether to allow the employee to bring an emotional support animal to work is to allow it on a trial basis and see if it works. Employers who do this often make a written agreement with the employee that there will be a trial period, how long it will last, and what factors might end the trial period early. For example, if the emotional support dog shows any sign of aggression or if the employee cannot keep the animal quiet or under control, the employer will immediately end the trial period and deny the request.
    The use of animals to help overcome disability-related symptoms seems to be a growing trend, and it’s not just dogs; it’s all types of animals. It’s likely we’ll be hearing more and more about this topic and maybe we’ll get clarification in the future, but for now we hope our practical approach is helpful.

  2. *Unfortunately I have to say this: PLEASE KNOW THAT ANY OFFENSIVE COMMENTS WRITTEN ON MY CHANNEL WILL BE REMOVED. No one person has all the answers…..and that includes me. It is not my intent to cover a topic in its entirety. For these reasons, I have always welcomed subscribers and viewers to add additional knowledge in the comment section below. Thank you for supporting the channel.*

  3. I love your video is done. I love how you define the difference between a service and emotional support animal. I also love how you remind the importance of ADA requirements. I love how companies have to make sure that they are meeting the ADA and state guidelines in order to serve their employees best. I love the ADA. When I was in college, I got to attend two ADA conferences during my college internship. It was awesome.

  4. This is a good video topic considering all the craziness going on in the news with the different emotional support animal stories. *MINIATURE HORSE?*

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