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Frequently Asked Questions - School and Work

YES. While businesses are generally permitted only to ask whether the dog is a service animal required because of disability and what the animal has been trained to do, there are instances when more extensive proof can be required.

If you file a complaint about discrimination, proof of disability and proof of training will be required. If you appear in court and you claim to be disabled and claim your dog is a service dog as part of the case you are involved in, then you will have to provide proof that your claims are true. A court will not simply take your word for it.

If you are arrested for trespass for bringing an animal into a place where pets are not permitted, your affirmative defense may be that the animal in question is a service dog, but again, you will have to prove that is the case.

Proof may include:
Medical records from any medical providers treating you for your disability or for aspects of your disability.
SSDI determination.
SD certification from a recognized/accredited program.
Training logs if owner-trained.
Independent evaluation of your dog's training by a qualified trainer.
Certificates attesting to training and temperament, such a training class completion certificates, an obedience title or certificate, a CGC certificate, etc.
Video demonstrations of the dog's training.
In person demonstrations of the dog's training.

See also: http://www.adagreatlakes.org/Publications/Legal_Briefs/BriefNo015Service...

If a person with a disability requests in writing to their employer for “reasonable accommodations in the work place” for their disability and a letter from a medical doctor as well as the letter from the disabled individual states that a service dog is required as an accommodation in the work place for the individual to be able to work more effectively and the place of work is not put under any undue hardship by said request, then yes, service dogs are permitted in the workplace.

There is no federal law in the U.S. that gives service animal trainers the right to access public schools with their trainees. Some, but not all, states have such rights for trainers. However, they would only apply to the public areas of a public school, such as the gymnasium during a basketball game where any member of the public is permitted to attend.

In order to take a trainee into private areas of the school, where the general public are not permitted, such as classrooms while school is in session, the trainer would need to get permission from the school administrator first.

The ADA generally applies to the public areas of schools. There are exceptions, including schools owned by religious entities that do not receive federal funding.

Public areas of schools generally include administrative offices, the gymnasium during a public sporting event, the auditorium during a public exhibition, or the cafeteria during a public fund raising pancake supper. The class rooms themselves are generally not considered public areas of the school and therefore would not be covered under Title III of the ADA.

If a parent wishes his or her child to attend public school with a service animal, the first step would be to add the service animal to the child's IEP (Individual Education Plan), under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). If the school is not willing to permit the service animal, the parent(s) can appeal to the Department of Education.

Official IDEA site
reference to guide dog
Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Complaints against public schools should be addressed first to the local school district and then to the state department of education.

Colleges and universities (and other postsecondary education institutions such as vocational-technical schools) operate with considerable autonomy and with some state supervision. Therefore, you should start by contacting your state department of higher education to find out how they can help you resolve your problem.

How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights

Title I of the ADA applies to the workplace. It's not exactly the same as Title III which applies to public accommodations in that access is not necessarily automatic. You may have to provide your employer with proof of your disability and need for a service animal in the form of a letter from your treating physician. Other state and federal laws may also apply in some instances.

Additional Reading:

A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers
Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Issues involving employment and service animals should be directed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

To find the EEOC office near you, check the EEOC web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/offices.html.
You also can call the EEOC at 1-800-669-4000/1-800-669-6820 (TTY).