Woman With Service Dog Says She Can’t Get Job

Hope, the service dogAlex Dumas was injured in a fall eight years ago and her road to recovery was long and hard. A significant part of her recovery process is Hope, a yellow Labrador, that became her certified service dog in August. Hope follows Dumas everywhere and she is trained to help with issues of sight, sound and mobility. Hope helps Dumas with picking up things and balance problems.

Now, Dumas is trying to find a job and whenever she goes on an interview, she takes Hope with her. She has been told by interviewers to put her pet dog back in the car even though she tries to explain that Hope is a service animal. Dumas claims that when potential employers see Hope, everything changes. If employers do not hire Dumas because of Hope, then that may be against the law.

One attorney says that the “American Disabilities Act says an employee or potential employee is entitled to reasonable accommodations, which could include allowing a service dog.” Dumas just wants employers to know what they are doing is wrong and all that she wants is a job so she can support herself.

6 Responses to “Woman With Service Dog Says She Can’t Get Job”

  1. pat says:

    It sounds to me as though these potential employers could be violation of the ADA and I would advise Ms. Dumas that when contacted for an interview she should advise them right then and there that she has a service dog with her at all times. If they try to cancel the interview at that point, she should contact the nearest field office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    ADA has its limitations… for example, the employer must have at least 15 employees for it to be applicable. Obviously, the person must be qualified and capable of doing the job being applied for. But if people are not hiring her specifically because of her service dog, she has a remedy.

  2. Katie says:

    It is sad when employers as well as the general public can’t accept the service and freedom a service dog provides.

    Katie

  3. Mary says:

    Sadly, most people do not know about ADA and service animals (which are not limited to dogs and can include cats, monkeys, miniature horses). I wrote a story for my local newspaper about a woman who was asked to leave a restaurant because she had her service dog with her. The restaurant called the police for guidance, who called the local humane society, who advised them that only seeing eye dogs were allowed in restaurants.

    If the humane organizations are unaware of ADA’s policies on service animals, how can we expect most employers to know what’s okay and what isn’t?

    What is needed is education, not lawsuits. Ms. Dumas is on the right track.

  4. pam says:

    perhaps if the dog wore a service dog vest, employers would get the hint. also, employers with a certain number of workers must make reasonable accommadation under the ada…denying her employment because of her service dog is a violation of the ada as well as her civil rights. she can start her lawsuit in federal court…that always gets them running scared, but it has to be handled delicately by her lawyer. there’s also a booklet she can get on the ada discussing her rights in detail.

  5. Charlotte says:

    I also have a service dog and I work for a Vet. What a better place to work. Get a hold of the ADA, do not tell the potential job interviewer you have a service dog, if get the job then bring in the service dog. If they tried to fire you, you would have a law suit. The ADA would back you. Get a hold of the ADA first and let them know of you situation.

  6. Rose L says:

    This saddens me to see how heartless people can be.

    I’ve worked with some handicapped people over the years who had service dogs. This is sort of what they did to not surprise people. How about introducing dog first, this is my service dog, and say dog’s name. In case you’re never encountered a service dog before, she will sit here quietly (or whatever it is she does) until needed. She’s well behaved and even ignores the food when we are in grocery stores, and restaurants. (or something to clue them in that this dog is legally allowed places with you.)
    This won’t surprise interviewer and will set tone for what to expect. You have a legal right to have this dog with, and letting them know upfront it’s not a pet will leave no doubt in interviewer’s mind.

    If things get strange in the interview how about something like: I am here because I am qualified for the job. I’m a hard worker, skilled and a dedicated employee. I picked your company to apply for a job at because I think these are qualities shown in your brand, (or whatever).

    My having a service dog is not an option, but a necessity. I have a card (or registration or whatever) to show you. You may see pet, when the fact is the ADA a tool to help with my disability.

    I’ve also seen a big company I worked at provide big doggie bed and other extras for their service dog employee and a desk with extra floor space. When other employees had breaks they would ask if they could walk or brush the dog. Made it a great place to work.

    The company that is getting you as an employee is getting an extra, since dogs help us relax and create a better work environment.


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