Human Resources: Sample Service Animals Policy for your Employee Handbook

This sample policy makes clear your company’s stance on service animals. This can be a stand-alone policy or part of an employee handbook. This sample policy should be customized prior to use.

Service Animal Policy

In compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all unrestricted areas of [COMPANY]’s facilities, and may attend any class, meeting or other event. Exceptions may apply in certain areas.

Employees who have a disability and are requesting accommodation for a service animal must contact the human resources (HR) department and complete the proper documentation. All service animals must be registered with the HR department.

For purposes of this policy, “service animal” has been defined by the ADA as “any animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, and alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders, or pulling a wheelchair and fetching dropped items.” Absent prior authorization, [COMPANY] prohibits individuals from bringing onto the premises a pet that does not meet the ADA’s definition of service animal.

All service animals must be licensed in compliance with local laws. Service animals must also be vaccinated against rabies and other diseases typically found in that animal, and must wear a tag displaying its vaccinated status. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents them from using these devices, in which case the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls.

The service animal’s handler must be in complete control of the service animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its handler. An individual who brings a service animal onto [COMPANY]’s premises is completely and solely liable for any injuries or damage to personal property caused by the animal. Any repair or cleaning costs incurred by a service animal will be charged to the handler.

[COMPANY] also expects all service animals and their respective handlers to exhibit reasonable behavior while on ’s grounds. The service animal must be properly groomed and maintained so as to avoid disruption of others in the workplace. In addition to the aforementioned requirements, a service animal may be removed from [COMPANY]’s premises for one of the following reasons:

  • The service animal acts out of control or behaves poorly so as to cause a disruption, and the handler fails or is unable to take effective action to control the service animal.
  • The service animal is unclean, and/or not housebroken.

If the service animal consistently behaves improperly, the handler may be directed not to bring the service animal onto [COMPANY]’s premises until the handler corrects the service animal’s behavior. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed from the premises, staff must offer the disabled individual the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the service animal’s presence.

This Employee Handbook policy is a guideline meant to be edited to meet an employer’s situation. It is not meant to be exhaustive or construed as legal advice.

Consult additional insurance and/or legal counsel for professional advice.

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