update: my company says we’re dog-friendly — but we’re not
by Alison Green
on May 18, 2020
It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, when I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.
Remember the letter-writer whose company said it was dog-friendly but then issued a policy that seemed to exclude dogs who weren’t therapy or service animals? Here’s the update.
I wrote to the HR director using some of the language suggested by Alison (that the policy seemed to say dogs were only allowed for medical purposes), and pointed out that the practical effect was likely to ban all dogs except Mr. Goodboy,
The reply read: “Thanks for reading the handbook and for reaching out for additional information. The intent of our Pet Policy was for the protection of our people (employees and visitors), the pets, and our property. It was not written to exclude or include any specific pet. This was a difficult policy to construct and we did much research to get to a policy that would provide safety and enjoyment for both people and pets. The request for a trained therapy or service animal is to help ensure that the pet be accustomed to people in both a one on one and a group situation. This provides less stress on the dog, our employees, and visitors to our workplace. We used the word should in this portion of the policy as we recognized that not all pets will qualify as a therapy/service animal; but could still be a good corporate pet.”
(There were some commenters who speculated that the word “should” in the policy language stating, “Dogs should be a trained therapy or service animal” meant that technically, it wasn’t a requ