Pets in the workplace may pose concerns related to liability, work distractions to the owner and others, health issues (fleas and allergies), etc. In order to minimize potential problems and to maximize the productivity of all HSOLC employees, the practice of bringing pets into the workplace on a recurring or lengthy basis is impermissible.

Employees who have questions in regard to this policy should speak with their manager or the Human Resources Department

Service Animal in the Workplace

A service animal is any dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purpose of the definition. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items.

Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability and any animal that is used purely for emotional support, comfort, or companionship are not considered service animals and are not allowed on the HSOLC premises.

Restrictions and Exclusions

  1. HSOLC may impose some restrictions or remove from HSOLC property a service animal that is out-of-control, not housebroken, poses a direct threat to health and safety of others, or whose presence fundamentally alters a program, service, or activity. Restrictions or removals are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable laws.
  2. In determining whether a service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, HSOLC will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.
  3. In those circumstances where a service animal is believed to fundamentally alter a service, program, or activity, HSOLC has the burden of proving that a fundamental alteration would occur. The decision that allowing the service animal would result in a fundamental alteration must be made by the head of HSOLC or his or her designee. The disabled individual must be provided with a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If allowing the service animal would result in a fundamental alteration, HSOLC shall take other actions to nevertheless ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by HSOLC.
  4. In the event restriction or removal of a service animal is determined to be necessary, HSOLC will take other actions to ensure that the disabled individual will still be offered the opportunity to participate in services, programs and activities without having the service animal present.

Responsibilities of Individuals Using Service Animals

An individual with a service animal is responsible for the following:

  1. Ensuring that the animal is under control by its handler by means of a harness, on a leash or tether in most cases. In instances where a person’s disability or the service animal’s performance of work or tasks precludes use of a harness, leash or tether, the service animal must still otherwise be under control (e.g. by voice control, signals, or other effective means). If an animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it, the matter will be addressed individually by HSOLC.
  2. Be responsible for the care and supervision of the service animal.
  3. Assure that service animals are housebroken (i.e., trained so that, absent illness or accident, the animal controls its waste elimination). Individuals with physical disabilities who cannot pick up and dispose of the animal’s waste should work with RM to identify appropriate service animal toileting areas.

Requirements for Faculty, Staff and Students

  1. Allowing service animals to accompany the person they are assisting in all areas of HSOLC where member participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
  2. Not distracting a service animal in any way. Do not pet, feed, or interact with the animal without the handler’s permission.
  3. Not separating a disabled person from his or her service animal.
  4. Clarifying an animal’s status as a service animal only when it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal. In such cases, designated staff may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, but may make two inquires to establish whether the animal is a service animal:
    1. Is the animal required because of a disability? and
    2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform?
  5. In the case of an emergency, an animal may become disoriented or try to communicate the need for help. HSOLC staff will make every effort to keep a service animal with the disabled person it is tasked to assist. However, the first effort should be towards the disabled person, which may result in the service animal being left behind in some emergency evacuation situations.

This policy was approved by Policy Council October 2007. January 2013
Updated January 2013. March 2021

Reviewed: December 2020