One of the biggest issues for companies is figuring out which dogs are fake service dogs and which dogs are real service dogs without running afoul of the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Now comes news of a blind man’s service dog being bitten by another dog on the Sacramento Light Rail. Initially, the owner of the “bad dog” claimed it was a service dog, but after police told him they had the incident on video he admitted the dog was a pet.
Businesses are really in a catch 22, if employees improperly question a real service dog owner they can be in violation of the ADA. However, this type of incident, if it had happened within a private business, might have created a premises liability situation that would have negatively impacted the business. The owner of the real service dog could have been hurt and/or sued the business for damages/injuries to his real service dog.
Dori K. Stibolt is a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP. Dori defends and counsels management in labor and employment litigation matters pertaining to wage and overtime claims, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, leave/restraint, and whistle-blower claims. You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.