Going to the dogs? 6 rules for wags at work

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

About 20% of U.S. companies allow their employees to bring their dogs to work. Among them: Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s and Google.

Supporters of bringing Fido to the office say it boosts creativity, camaraderie and even productivity.

If you’re considering allowing dogs in your workplace, follow these rules:

1. People come first. When people and pets come into conflict, always side with the person.

2. Comply with the ADA. Some employees may be allergic to animals. If so, no go—the dogs have to stay home, as a reasonable ADA accommodation.

3. Dogs must be “office broken.” No biting, growling, barking or chasing. Dogs that can’t play by those rules must be banished the first time anyone complains. Dogs should also be housebroken, friendly to people and other animals and not protective of their owners or their owners’ spaces. Define when dogs must be leashed or caged.

4. Respect the property. Designate a specific area outside for dogs to go to relieve themselves (preferably away from the entrances). Make pet owners responsible for cleaning up messes outside and inside.

5. Keep shots up-to-date. Demand proof that vaccinations are current and that pets are free of parasites and pests.

6. Make employees liable. Have employees provide proof they have sufficient homeowners’ or renters’ insurance to cover any damage or injuries their dog causes. Have employees sign a paycheck deduction authorization in advance, to ensure reimbursement.

Advice: If you’re considering allowing dogs at work, run it by your attorney and your insurance carrier. They can point out other issues that may be unique to your business.

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