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Can I Use a Service Animal at Work?

can i use a service animal at workService animals are an essential aspect of the lives of many people with disabilities. They rely on these trained animals to go about their daily lives. While the law offers protection for individuals who require the use of service animals, many people still have questions about their rights. This includes whether or not they can use these animals while at work.

If you are an employee in New York and use a service animal, it’s important to know your rights.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities are entitled to bring their service animals to work.

This applies to animals trained to perform specific tasks to help the individual with their daily activities. Examples of tasks that a service animal can perform might include alerting an individual to sounds or danger, guiding the individual through crowds, or helping to retrieve or carry objects.

Employers must make reasonable accommodations for a service animal and their handler. This may include allowing the service animal to accompany the individual. It could also allow for the request of modifications to the workplace to make it more service animal-friendly.

Service Animal Laws in New York

New York’s Human Rights Law also addresses service animals. However, these animals are defined a bit differently than they are in the ADA.

According to the New York law, employers cannot discriminate against applicants or employees with a service animal. As long as they use a properly trained service dog, hearing dog, or guide dog, they can bring the animal to work.

The state law defines three types of service animals, including animals used to assist:

  • Someone who is blind
  • Someone who has a hearing impairment
  • Someone with specific tasks or to work for a person with a disability

Identifying a Service Animal

It is important to understand that not all animals are considered service animals. Only dogs and miniature horses are recognized as service animals under federal law.

Additionally, the animal must be trained specifically to work with the individual and must not pose a threat to other employees or customers. While employers can ask about the animal’s training and certification, they cannot require a specific type of certification or documentation.

Employers should also be aware of the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all employees. This includes those who use service animals. Service animals must be clean and well-behaved. Their handlers must be responsible for their behavior at all times.

If you are an employee who uses a service animal in New York, you have the right to bring your animal to work. You can also expect employers to make reasonable accommodations to meet your needs. If you have any questions or concerns about the use of service animals in the workplace, it is always best to consult with a legal professional. They can provide you with the information and guidance you need.

For more information about dress codes or to speak to someone about your rights in the workplace, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C.


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