California Laws on Service Dogs in the Workplace - Manukyan
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California Laws on Service Dogs in the Workplace

California Laws on Service Dogs in the Workplace

California law allows people with disabilities to use service dogs at work in order to perform their duties as employees. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, job applicants and employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace for a physical or mental medical condition that is disabling, potentially disabling, or perceived as disabling or potentially disabling. This protection against disability discrimination requires employers to work with employees to accommodate their disabilities reasonably. This includes having to make accommodations for employees with service dogs.

What is a service dog?

A “service dog,” under California law, is a dog trained to assist a specific person with a disability. It is essential to know that it is limited to dogs. (But because the ADA authorizes the use of miniature horses as service animals in some limited circumstances, California also does so from time to time.)

How can a service dog help an employee?

Service dogs can help disabled people with mobility problems in the following ways:

  • Pushing or pulling a wheelchair
  • Providing stability when walking or standing
  • Retrieving objects from the floor or across the room
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Covering its owner with a blanket.

In addition, it can help visually impaired people to move more easily.

Eligible mental disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Psychotic disorders

What rules should animal owners respect?

California employment law allows employers to require that an assistance animal in the workplace:

  • Is free of unpleasant odors and exhibits habits appropriate to the work environment (for example, is toilet trained)
  • Does not pose a danger to the health or safety of the person with a disability or other people in the workplace,
  • Is trained to assist with the employee’s disability.


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