Virginia Service/Companion Animals and Employee Rights Lawyer

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Service animals may be necessary for certain disabled employees and military servicemembers seeking work. Fortunately, those who require a companion pet while at work have related rights under state and federal laws. A service dog, for example, may assist a person who is visually or auditorily impaired, or it may be a calming influence for someone who suffers from mental disorders.

In Virginia, disabled workers have a right to reasonable accommodations during their employment. If you are facing adverse action at your job for having or needing a companion pet, you should enlist the help of a knowledgeable disability rights attorney from the Spiggle Law Firm. A Virginia service/companion animals and employee rights lawyer could help you exercise your entitlements through litigation and advocate for your rights in court.

Relevant Laws Regarding Sevice and Companion Animals

Federal law affords employees the right to equivalent treatment while at work. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers must allow reasonable accommodations to an employee, unless doing so would create an unreasonable hardship for the employer.

Additionally, the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law enacted in 1994 that protects veterans from unlawful workplace discrimination on the basis of their military status. A former servicemember may require a companion animal to effectively perform their job duties.

Organizations or buildings that have a “no-pets” policy may be required to modify it to accommodate veterans who need to take service animals to work. A dedicated service/companion animals and employee rights lawyer in Virginia could help if you are being denied permission to have a service animal accompany you at work.

Anti-Discrimination Laws for Virginia Businesses

According to the Virginia Human Rights Act §2.2-3901, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of a disability. Accordingly, a disabled person who requires a companion animal may not be treated unfairly because of their need for reasonable accommodation.

If you were fired because you brought a service pet to work, you may have recourse against your employer for discrimination. A Virginia service and companion animals attorney could help you exercise your rights in court proceedings.

Care of Service/Companion Pets in the Workplace

Those who have been afforded the use of a companion/service animal have legal duties toward the pet. Virginia Code §3.2-6503 mandates that an owner of a companion animal must ensure its proper care, feeding, and exercise—failure to do so could result in a misdemeanor charge.

This statute creates a need for employees with service pets to care for their animals while at work, as long as doing so does not cause undue hardship to employers. A Virginia attorney who has experience with service/companion animals and employee rights cases could raise this issue in court on your behalf.

Speak with a Virginia Service/Companion Animals and Employee Rights Attorney

If you need constant companionship from a certified and trained service animal, you may have specialized employment rights under both Virginia and federal laws. Barring extreme circumstances, your employer should not object to your rights to have a companion pet with you at work.

A Virginia service/companion animal and employee rights lawyer could bring a case against your employer for subjecting you to adverse action. Call the Spiggle Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a qualified legal professional who could help you understand this area of law.