Emotional Support Dogs In The Workplace For Employees With Disabilities

by | Feb 18, 2019 | workforce

Many organizations have employees with physical or other disabilities. Under the American Disability Act (abbreviated as ADA), they are required to allow their employees emotional support animals which will help the employee complete the job allocated to them. The ADA does not specify any particular type of animal which can be used for providing emotional support for the employee, in most workplaces emotional support dogs are the most popular animals for support and assisting. In additional to physical disabilities like blindness,stress and anxiety is also considered to be a disability.

When an employee brings an animal to the workplace for emotional support, it can be inconvenient for the employer and also other employees since most workplaces are only designed for humans. Hence the employer should consider the facilities that have to be provided when they hire people with disabilities. In some cases, the disabled person may be highly skilled, and they are paying the person far less than the market price. So the additional provisions being made for the support animals may be worthwhile for the employer, since they are paying the employee very less.
Since there are other employees in the workplace, the employer may ask the employee who wishes to get his support animal to the workplace, for medical proof of the disability. The employer may also want proof that the animal the employee wishes to get is well trained for support. Animals which are certified for providing animal support, undergo training so that they obey the commands of the employee and do not create any problems for other employees at the workplace. Though any animal may be used for emotional support, it is observed that dogs and cats are the most frequently used pets for emotional support in most organizations.

Dogs have been used by individuals who are blind and have vision problems for many centuries for support.Hence if any employee is blind or has eyesight problems, the organization may allow the employee to get the dog to work without any formal certification. In other cases, some employees may be certified for stress and anxiety which is adversely affecting their productivity. It is observed that dogs can make people with disabilities comfortable, reducing their stress levels to a very great extent, so many companies, especially in the tech sector are allowing employees bring their dogs to their workplace.

If the organization is having a number of employees who are bringing their dog to the office for emotional support, they should make sure to have professional dog food. This is a perk for the employees, similar to offering free meals, coffee and tea to their employees. Organizations should note that employees with disabilities should be taken care of not just physically, it is necessary to ensure that they are mentally calm and stress free. A person who is angry and upset will not be able to do many tasks which are assigned to them, which mental healthcare professionals will confirm, hence a provision for keeping a support animal should be made.




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