Emotional Support Animals for University Employees

Faculty/Staff Disability Management

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Service Animals 101 for Business Owners and Employees

Service Animals 101 for Business Owners and Employees

People with disabilities have the right to have their service animals with them in virtually every setting. Business owners and employees have a legal responsibility to accommodate service animals. This video explains those rights and responsibilities.

Emotional Support Animals for University Employees

The University recognizes the importance of and is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. To that end, we have developed a procedure for the vetting of emotional support animals on campus.

In keeping with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) regulations, we recognize that an "emotional support animal" is a dog or other animal not trained to perform specific acts directly related to an individual's disability. Instead, the animal's owner derives a sense of well-being, safety, or calm from the animal's companionship and presence.

Responsibilities related to the use of an emotional support animal include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The emotional support animal (ESA) should be free from offensive odors and display habits appropriate to the work environment, for example, free from eliminating (urine and/or feces) within public or campus buildings.

  2. The ESA should not engage in any behavior that endangers the health,  and/or safety of others, including  individuals with disabilities and/or their service animals while in the workplace and on the university campus property; and

  3. The ESA is prescribed to meet the needs of the individual with a disability (i.e. animal handler/owner).

A request to have an emotional support animal in employment is basically handled in the same manner in which other requests for reasonable accommodation are treated.

Step 1:  Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

To request an ESA as a reasonable accommodation, complete and follow the instructions on this form: Request for an emotional support animal.

Step 2: Interactive Process

Once a request has been submitted, a specialist from Be Well at Work – Disability Management at University Health Services may contact the employee and/or supervisor to discuss the next steps. The University and the employee shall engage in timely, good faith, interactive communication regarding this request.

Medical Documentation: Employees will be asked to provide documentation from a health care provider verifying that an accommodation is necessary, and give an opinion of how the animal assists the employee with completing the essential functions of the job. If needed, employees may request their health care provider to complete the following form: Certification from Health Care Provider- ESA.


Step 3:  Review and discussion

Once sufficient documentation has been submitted, Disability Management will review all of the documents and information in order to determine if the request for accommodation is reasonable or if further information is needed.  Throughout this process, Disability Management continues to communicate with all involved parties.

Step 4:  Final Approval and Notification

Disability Management sends an email to the employee and supervisor notifying them that the request for accommodation has been approved and that the employee can now bring their animal to work.  This email also informs the employee and supervisor that this request is being approved for a period of 12 months and will be reviewed at that point.  This email also reminds the employee of the Minimum Standards for Emotional Support Animals (noted above).

Step 5:  Animal Assessment*

If available, a qualified vendor will be scheduled to meet with the employee and support animal in order to:

  • Validate safe interactions of the animal with people

  • Assess animal hygiene and care

  • Reinforce commitment to proper handling, including feeding and toileting