Allowing employees to keep pets in the workplace can improve recruitment, retention, morale and productivity. But it can also get you into all kinds of legal trouble. If you’re prepared to allow pets, you must implement a clear and fair policy to ensure the health, safety, comfort, convenience and productivity of others at the workplace who may be affected. Here’s a template pets in the workplace policy that you can adapt.
Employees are not permitted to keep pets at the workplace. However, ABC Company reserves the right to make an exception to this policy by granting an employee permission to keep a domesticated pet at work subject to the terms and conditions of this Policy. Employees acknowledge that permission to have a pet at the workplace confers a significant and valuable benefit and that in exchange for such permission employees must accept full responsibility for compliance with all of the terms of this Policy and that the Company may revoke permission at any time if the employees fails to comply with any of those terms and conditions.
The purpose of this Policy is to establish a clear, fair and reasonable balance that allows employees to experience the enjoyment of bringing a pet to work without creating an unreasonable hazard to the health, safety, comfort, productivity or convenience of any other person.
- SERVICE & ASSISTANCE ANIMAL EXCLUSION
This Policy does not apply to assistance animals or service animals duly certified and trained service, guide, signal and emotional support animals that may be required by an employee with a disability to service a need related to that disability. Assistance and service animals are not “pets” and ABC Company will make reasonable accommodations for employees who need them up to the point of undue hardship in accordance with the procedures and principles set out in the ABC Company Disability Accommodations Policy.
- ADVANCE PERMISSION REQUIRED
Employees wishing to bring a pet to the workplace must first obtain written permission from their immediate supervisor whose decision to accept or reject the request will be final. Employees seeking accommodations for assistance or service animals should direct their request to the ABC Company HR department. Supervisors will grant permission to bring the pet to the workplace only if the requesting employee provides:
- If the pet is a dog, documentation that the dog has received up-to-date vaccinations for rabies, Bordetella (aka, kennel cough), DHLPP (including viral diseases canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and bacterial infection leptospirosis) and other diseases transmissible to humans;
- Evidence that the pet is trained, potty-trained, well behaved and spayed or neutered;
- [Optional] A certificate of liability insurance of at least [state dollar amount] covering any injuries, illnesses, damages or other harms that their pet may cause.
- NO WILD OR EXOTIC ANIMALS
ABC Company reserves the right to reject an application for permission to bring to the workplace any pet that is an exotic or wild animal, including but not limited to birds, chinchillas, ferrets, fish (in tanks 20 gallons or more), iguanas, monkeys, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, raccoons, rodents of any kind, skunks, snakes or reptiles of any kind, tarantulas, scorpions or spiders of any kind, or weasels.
- IMPERMISSIBLE BREEDS
ABC Company reserves the right to reject an application for permission to the workplace any pet due to the type of animal, breed, or animal mixed with a breed with a history of aggressive behavior. The following specific breeds of dogs (or dogs mixed with these breeds) are not permitted: Pit Bulls (aka American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or American Pit Bull Terriers), Bull Terriers, Bull Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Huskies, Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Chow Chows and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
- PET MUST OBEY WORKPLACE RULES
Employee must accept full responsibility for knowing and ensuring that permitted pets comply with workplace rules designed to protect others at the site against health, safety, nuisance and other hazards associated with having pets at the workplace, including but not limited to the following house rules:
- Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times when in elevators and common areas;
- Pets are not allowed in the following designated areas, which will be maintained as pet-free zones [list areas];
- Pets must not engage in violent or aggressive activity;
- Excessive barking, emitting excessive odors and other annoying behaviour that creates a nuisance or interferes with any other person’s health, safety, work, productivity, comfort, enjoyment or use or enjoyment of the workplace property is strictly prohibited;
- All local leash and licensing requirements must be obeyed;
- Pets must not be left unattended for unreasonable periods;
- Pets may relieve themselves only in designated relief areas and Tenant must clean up after its pets and dispose of its waste quickly and properly;
- All pets must be registered and have a proper identification tag.
- EMPLOYEE LIABILITY FOR PET DAMAGE
Employees are responsible liable for the entire amount of all damages caused by their pets and all cleaning, defleaing, and deodorizing required because of such pets. This applies to carpets, doors, walls, drapes, wallpaper, windows, screens, furniture, appliances and any other part of the workplace premises or common areas. If such items cannot be satisfactorily cleaned or repaired, employees must pay for complete replacement by the Company. Payment for damages, repairs, cleaning, replacements, etc. are due immediately upon demand.
- REVOCATION OF PERMISSION & DISCIPLINE
Employees acknowledge and understand that failure to comply with any of the terms of this Policy are grounds for immediate revocation of permission to keep their pet in the workplace and may also result in discipline up to and including termination. In addition, ABC Company reserves the right to revoke its entire pets acceptance policy and implement a policy banning all pets from the workplace at any time, for any reason and without providing prior notification.