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Posts from May 2013.
May 28, 2013
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This is the final part of the three part series addressing pets in the workplace. The first post discussed the benefits of allowing pets in the workplace. This second post provided insight into the legal liabilities of having pets in the office and other litigation that has occurred in this area. This final post provides information on how to assess if pets in the workplace are right for your company and what should be incorporated into a workplace pet policy.

Should Your Company Allow Pets?

Whether or not to allow dogs or other pets in the office is a business decision.  Businesses, such as food or hospital settings, should not allow pets for sanitary reasons, but for the majority of businesses the answer to this question isn’t as clear. Typically, a decision to allow pets should be decided from the inception of the company, which makes it part of the work culture.  If the pet policy is changed, it works best in small to medium-sized businesses with fewer employees and personalities involved. 

May 24, 2013
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This is part two of the three part series addressing pets in the workplace. The first post discussed the benefits of allowing pets in the workplace. This second post will provide insight into the legal liabilities and other litigation that has occurred in this area. Our final post next week will include information on how to assess if pets in the workplace are right for your company and what should be incorporated into a workplace pet policy.

Legal Liability Relating to Dogs in the Workplace

Not surprisingly, there have been legal issues when employers open their doors to pets.  These cases range from American Disability Act (“ADA”) accommodation classes to liability for dog bites.

Who is Liable for Injuries Caused By Pets? 

An important issue for businesses when deciding whether to permit pets is the issue of liability for dog bites.  While a dog owner would, in most cases, be liable if the dog were to bite someone, there is also a possibility the employer would be jointly liable in a personal injury lawsuit.  Two cases in Connecticut addressed an employer’s potential for liability under the strict liability statute for an “owner” or “keeper” of a dog and found that allowing an employee to bring a dog to work does not make the employer a keeper of the dog.  (LaVoy v. Rosenthal, et al., 1999 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3250; Falby v. Zarembski, 221 Conn. 14, 19, 602 A.2d 1 (1992)). However, the courts concluded that a plaintiff could bring a claim for negligence against the employer for a dog bite occurring at the workplace.

May 23, 2013
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Dog in Workplace (00313984).jpgPet Sitter International’s Take Your Dog to Work Day (“TYDTWDay”) is Friday, June 21, 2013.  With this event on the horizon, it raises questions regarding the legal and practical aspects of allowing pets in the workplace.  What policies should be in place prior to opening the doors to your employees’ four-legged friends, whether it’s a permanent policy or a one-day event?

There are many important components to assess when deciding if pets should be allowed at the office. This first post of a three-part series will discuss the benefits of allowing pets in the workplace. The second post will provide insight into the legal liabilities and other litigation that has occurred in this area. The final post will include information on how to assess if pets in the workplace are right for your company and what should be incorporated into a workplace pet policy.