“Take your dog to work day” is Friday, June 23rd, 2017.
While bringing your four-legged companion to work may sound like a warm and fuzzy idea – animals in the work place can raise some hair raising legal liability issues as well. Today, Corriveau Law is here to shed some light on some of the very real legal concerns that should be considered before bringing your dog to the workplace.
“Take Your Dog to Work Day” was first created by Pet Sitters International in 1996 and was first held in the United Kingdom. In 1999, the idea of “Take Your Dog to Work Day” soon spread to the United States and was created in an effort to raise funds for local animal shelters.
Some companies Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, and Google have since began permitting pets in the workplace on a regular basis. Whether, you routinely allow pets in the workplace or are toying with the idea of allowing them on occasion. Here are 3 legal tips to consider ahead of time –
3 Legal Tips To Consider Before Allowing Dogs in the Work Place
- Service Dogs Welcome! Everyday is “Take Your Service Dog to Work Day” – provided the service dog does not pose an immediate threat to customers and/or co-workers. Allowing an employee to bring his/her service dog to work really should be a matter of common sense. Just as disabled customers have the right to have a service dog accompany them, an employee who requires such assistance does too. An employer that does not in fact abide by such, very well can be opening oneself up to a discrimination lawsuit by said employee.
- Don’t Get Bit – It has been proven that dogs in the workplace can boost moral. However, dogs in the workplace can also increase the likelihood of a personal injury lawsuit should a customer and/or co-worker get bitten. Premises and vicarious liability hold you, as the employer equally liable regardless of ownership. By allowing your employee to bring his/her dog to work you can still be held reliable for any injuries that may occur as a result of such measure.
- Pet Policy Enforcement – Are you still considering allowing pets in the workplace? Creating and enforcing an in office pet policy which employees’ are to signoff on maybe something to consider. Such written policies while not required maybe best discussed with your attorney. What essentials should be included in such written policy and, just how should one go about enforcing such in the workplace? Are the animals being disrupting and affecting productivity? Are there health or allergy concerns that may need to be addressed?
Remember, the purpose behind creating and enforcing such written policies in the workplace ultimately comes down to a matter of your personal protection and liability.
At Corriveau Law we will work with you to best create a pet friendly environment that helps protect and/or bring awareness to your legal liability. For the most part bringing your four-legged companion to work may make for an enjoyable, productive, and happy environment. But, knowing the risks and potential legal issues that can arise should not go without careful consideration.
Disclosure: All cases are driven by the facts unique to each case as they apply to the law at the time, and the persuasive argument of an attorney. The information we at Corriveau Law provide is meant only as a broad overview, and not to be relied on without speaking with a legal representative.