Canines at the Company, Felines at the Factory: The Risks and Rewards of Incorporating Service Animals and Companion Animals into the Workplace

58 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019 Last revised: 28 Feb 2019

See all articles by Rebecca J. Huss

Rebecca J. Huss

Valparaiso University Law School

Date Written: June 1, 2018

Abstract

With unemployment rates at historically low levels, the ability of an employer to attract and retain productive employees is key to a company’s success. Simultaneously, the percentage of persons in the United States with disabilities is increasing. Additionally, many persons without disabilities consider allowing companion animals at work a valuable employee benefit. This Article focuses on the legal and workplace implications of incorporating service animals and companion animals at work.

This Article begins by analyzing when an employer must accommodate a request by an employee with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal at work under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It then reviews recent research on the impact of incorporating companion animals into the workplace on the health and well-being of humans. The Article continues by setting forth concerns raised by employers and then providing ways to mitigate those concerns. It concludes by contemplating options available to employers to assist them in structuring policies that meet employers’ legal requirements and ensuring a productive working environment for all employees.

Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act, Service Animal, Companion Animal, Employer, Employee, Work

Suggested Citation

Huss, Rebecca J., Canines at the Company, Felines at the Factory: The Risks and Rewards of Incorporating Service Animals and Companion Animals into the Workplace (June 1, 2018). 123 Dickinson Law Review 363 (2019); Valparaiso University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3321901

Rebecca J. Huss (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

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