Policy brief & purpose
Our pets in the workplace policy outlines our rules for bringing, caring for and supervising pets in our company’s offices.
We believe that pets can foster a friendlier and happier workplace. They’re fun, playful and can have positive influence on our work. We’ll allow our employees to have their pets at work when they wish.
However, we want to make sure that animals won’t disrupt our operations, damage properties or cause medical issues to other employees. We expect everyone to read and respect this policy.
This policy refers to all our employees, visitors, contractors and consultants.
It applies to any space our company owns where employees perform their job duties. Regarding spaces our company rents, we’re responsible to check appropriate regulations and seek approval from owner or building manager.
Employees who own pets can choose to bring them to their workplace. They should always consult with the HR department to:
- Inform HR that their pet is adequately trained
- Present current documentation of insurance policy that covers their pets
- Provide proof that their pets are clean, properly vaccinated and free of parasites
- Ensure their pet will not cause allergies or other medical problems for their coworkers
- Sign waivers that state their pets information and their owner’s responsibility towards them
What pets are allowed?
Office pets are usually dogs and cats, but any pet that’s well-trained and not potentially dangerous or unpleasant is also allowed. Young animals aren’t allowed until they’re adequately trained. Pets like snakes, spiders and bunnies (which chew up cords) are prohibited in the workplace.
Certain large dog breeds, like pit bulls, should be on a leash and their movements restricted to their owner’s office space. Their owner is responsible for informing others of their dog’s presence, preferably with a sign. The HR department can give specific instructions about those pets.
When pets get sick, owners should leave them at home.
Generally, we want to ensure that our company and employees’ pets are cared for properly. Pet owners should clean up after their pets. They’re solely responsible for their pet’s behavior and well-being. They should supervise their pets in the workplace or know their location at all times. More specifically, they should make sure their animal doesn’t:
- Make a mess
- Fight with other office pets
- Wander in prohibited places
- Endanger themselves or others
- Damage company or employee property
- Annoy coworkers (e.g. barking constantly, climbing on their desks)
If any of these occur, it falls to the HR department’s discretion to determine the seriousness of the pet’s actions. As a general rule, if the pet misbehaves three times or becomes overly aggressive, their owner may be prohibited from bringing the pet to the office again. They’ll also be responsible for any expenses and cleaning resulting from their pet’s behavior.
Owners can leave work to walk their dogs on their lunch breaks. They should avoid using up excessive work time to look after their pets. If a pet needs constant care and attention, their owner may be instructed to leave them at home. Same goes for days that their owner has a busy schedule and won’t be able to supervise them.
Pet owners are advised not to leave pets in their vehicles for great periods of time. In some jurisdictions, leaving pets in cars confined or unattended, in conditions that may endanger them, is illegal. Pet owners are obliged to know the law. When employees use company vehicles, we prohibit them from leaving pets inside, unattended and without proper ventilation, food/drink, or in extreme temperatures.
Areas where pets are prohibited
There are certain places and times where our company prohibits office pets:
- Labs, basements and attics
- Offices of employees with allergies
- Places with sensitive equipment or material
- Kitchen or cafeteria, where food is served or exposed
- Meeting rooms during meetings with clients or external parties
Security personnel, office managers and other employees should inform HR of any unattended or misbehaving pets at work.
The HR department may instruct employees to restrict their pets at certain instances (e.g. company parties). We expect employees to comply with those instructions.
In cases when the number of pets in the office becomes excessive, we’ll have to restrict them. Employees can then bring their pets to work according to a schedule.
We want all employees to feel safe in their workplace. If an employee has concerns or problems resulting from a pet at work, they can follow this process:
- Talk to the pet’s owner in case they can resolve the problem immediately
- Reach out to their supervisor explaining their issues
- Consult the HR department, if they don’t get a satisfactory response
- File an official complaint
If they have a medical or personal issue (e.g. allergy, phobia), they can directly contact the HR department or any department responsible for Health & Safety.
Supervisors should take their employees’ concerns seriously and investigate as soon as they receive complaints. If they’re unable to resolve the problem, they should contact the HR department and inform their team member.
This policy doesn’t prohibit service animals (animals trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.) They are allowed to move freely with their owners. If any problem arises because of service animals, we will make appropriate accommodations to resolve it. This falls to the discretion of the HR department. But, we won’t, under any circumstances, create problems for our employees with disabilities.
We also instruct employees to not feed other employees’ pets at work, if not authorized.
|Disclaimer: This policy template is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor Workable will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this policy.