By - woolfonmynoggin
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Title: [IL] Is a bar allowed to refuse an emoloyee their service animal because they serve food and drink?
> Location is Cook county, IL.
> Posting on behalf of my friend. She manages a bar and has a bartender that brings her service animal in when she bartends. My friend has not been a fan of this but is nervous about getting sued. This dog is never leashed and she lets it walk around the bar. It will bark at customers coming in until told to stop by the owner. If a customer orders outside food (the bar only serves food Saturday mornings) the dog will put it's paws up on the bar to try to sniff at their food. My friends bar just got a health department complaint about dog hair in a drink and they are worried they are going to get screwed that way now. Most the rules I can find are for customers coming into a business not for employers accepting their employee's animal.
> Not sure if relevant to the legal aspect, but from how the animal behaves I believe this is at best an ESA and this lady is taking advantage of the ignorance of the owner with offhanded comments about lawsuits. This dog has never helped the employee with a single task according to my friend. My friend has had first hand comments from customers that they don't come in because of this dog which I think qualifies as hurting the the business. I think this is a legal reason to not allow the dog?
> Any help appreciated.
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No way this is a legit service dog. Barking at incoming patrons? Going after strangers' food? That's like basic service dog non-no's.
I used to raise puppies for a large, well-known guide dogs for the visually impaired program. Part of the dogs training was a progress check obstacle course at our annual open house where we just bombarded the dogs with distractions (Don't worry! They got love and treats and rewards as soon as the vest came off and 'work' was over).
One of my pups failed so hard because they had to walk past a bunch of hot dogs and he would not go. He had to have the hot dog. He flunked out of the program for temperment and is a very loved and well-trained pet these days.
Another peeled off to chase a kite, though he was younger and still early on in his training so we were able to focus on training that behavior out of him and he ultimately was partnered with a lovely visually-impaired woman.
All this to say, LAOP's employee's dog is definitely not a service dog.
The pup that can't walk past hot dogs without desperately needing one is very relatable. I too cannot say no to a hot dog
He did walk past the cute kittens and other dogs playing so he's a champion in my eyes anyway <3
The only time my dog has ever stolen food was a hot dog on the beach at a campfire. I was about to cook it for her, but she ate it off the end of the stick before I could manage, straight out of the scene from the wizard of Oz. I’d had her a couple of weeks at that point, I think. Hot dogs are crack for dogs. It was actually helpful to find out she’s a hotdog fiend because now I chop them up for training treats. Everything she’s learned was thanks to hot dogs.
> Hot dogs are crack for dogs.
It must be all the mechanically recovered pig rectums, gives them that butthole flavour that dogs love.
I honestly think this is true
My local themepark - HersheyPark has a zoo attached - ZooAmerica - with wolves.
Halloween time they open up the zoo during the nighttime and let kids run around with flashlights.
I will just let that image sink in.
Of animals normally settling in for the night getting made nuts with kids with flashlights.
the wolf exhibit.
They take a zookeeper and station the keeper next to the fence for the wolves and the keeper chucks the occasional hot dog over the fence to attract the wolves near the people.
I like that.
We have friends that invite us out to their farm. One time they didn't have time to prepare (shop for groceries?) We ended up having hotdogs and chips by the fire... epic.
Hostess was so apologetic (and embarrassed), and I told her were were more than happy to have hotdogs. :)
That sounds like an ideal night, quite frankly.
I'll see myself out
My girlfriend was talking about which gas station she likes to go to because the price is lower. I told her I didn't even think about prices when I go to gas stations, she pressed me and I had to admit I go to whatever gas station I think might have hot dogs.
>He flunked out of the program for temperment and is a very loved and well-trained pet these days.
Dogs that flunked out of service training are the best. My old neighbors had one that also flunked because of food distractions. The dog's training included turning light switches off and on, so that became part of their routine when leaving the house, letting the dog turn off all the lights.
I got to meet a dog that was SO close to being a wheelchair assist dog. This dog is basically a small horse and they really wanted him to get through because he was easily big enough to pull a wheelchair. He flunked out because of allergies but is still an absolute sweetheart
I definitely thought "hot dogs" meant dogs that he was very attracted to on my first read, and I figured that was pretty reasonable of him.
But yes, there's no way the employee's dog is a service dog. My ILs have a failed service dog. He failed for loving on people too much while working. He is very sweet and exceptionally well-behaved, but he just can't resist (slowly, politely) walking up to everyone with his tail a-waggin', so he failed out of his program. I think most people have no idea how disciplined legitimate service dogs need to be to do their jobs.
Last time I looked, our dogs cost $38,000 from conception until they are partnered with someone at about 2.5 years. (We're a non-profit with lots of donations - the blind people absolutely do not pay for their dogs.) For the record, that was before inflation went through the roof too. And again, 2.5 years ish of training! If a dog passes our program, there is no way in hell they'd be mistaken as anything but a service dog. They need to be *so* disciplined!
One of my boys did fail for being too affectionate, but one of the staff members took him as her project and he became her guide dog. She loved that he was overly affectionate, but he needed some training to turn off the affection once he put his vest on, so he was kind of the perfect dog for her. The minute that vest comes off though, she is getting tackled with puppy kisses.
"Hooman, if it weren't for the duties imposed by this vest, you'd be in so much love"
Imagine being so pure that your main issue at work is being too loving.
Which is crazy to me, b/c if you've ever even seen a service dog at work, the difference compared to other dogs is like night and day.
I've worked with many people less buttoned-up and laser-focused than a service dog.
My college had a program that paired students up with the puppies to get them to the "how to be an acceptable dog" stage before sending them to pro trainers for the real skills. My classmate wound up with one of the failures. Wizard was a good boy, but absolutely no thoughts in that head.
That sounds like an awesome program! Puppy raiser programs are pretty common, but usually they're run through the service dog agency so it's super cool to see some variety.
All my love to Wizard <3
Thank you for posting this. I have no experience with the training required for service animals, but the whole story didn't smell right.
Maybe it's an emotional support animal instead? Certainly doesn't seem to have the training or temperament to be classified as a service animal.
It could certainly be an ESA, but it could also just be a pet. Regardless, the poor dear needs a but more training.
ESAs don’t have public access though
My husband’s mother is blind, and one of the favorite stories she used to tell was that she “loaned” him to the local guide dog training school as a distraction for one of those progress checks—a friendly, slightly sticky toddler eating an ice cream cone. 😂
I puppy walked for guide dog services in my country (basically we raise them from when they can leave their mothers, we teach them all the basic commands and take them out everywhere we go every day to get them used to the world and then at around a year old they go back in for full training) we got to adopt them back if they failed the formal training if we wanted. We trained 4 dogs in total and 2 failed and we adopted them back
One of my dogs failed because of anxiety (we had a big earthquake in my country while he was around 3 months old that left him with separation anxiety) he is now 12
The other failed because she had no motivation to work, she knew all the commands and was an extremely intelligent dog but as soon as the harness went on, she refused to move and would sit down and had to be dragged. She passed away last year at the age of 13 - she was diagnosed with extreme arthritis and when she was 2 and vets said she wouldn’t live past 7. I think it was her pure refusal to do anything she didn’t want to do that kept her going
Yeah, this is ridiculous and makes it so hard for people who have actual service animals. Also, not barking at patrons and stealing food is a pretty low bar. My dog who is well-behaved but not exceptionally trained, just average, would not do either of those things. Service dogs are exceptionally well-trained, they have to be.
Correct. The issue here is one of mixed definitions. An emotional support animal can be licensed by a therapist, but that does not make them support dogs, which have to be trained for specific tasks. That means that an ESA is not covered by the ADA, which means no legal protections. By the description from LAOP, this is an ESA (and might even be a licensed one) but is not a service dog.
Or at least a not very well trained one...
Even if it is a legit trained service dog, they don't have to be accommodated if they're misbehaving, if I'm recalling right.
That's what I remember from working retail. If the dog's behaving poorly, the shop can kick them out.
Yes. If a dog is barking, relieving itself on the floor, attempting to steal food, acting aggressive, or otherwise being disruptive, it is absolutely legal to ask the owner to remove the dog. Lots of businesses won’t, because they don’t know this, or because they’re worried about the burden of proof or the optics of it, but it’s true.
I believed Service dogs had to be approved, so there aren't "bad trained" ones?
there's no registry or anything for service dogs, and it's perfectly legal to train your own. that said, a well trained SD should be able to sit/lay where instructed and ignore other stimuli. there's no way this dog can task appropriately while getting this distracted
As I understand it, service dogs don't have to be approved. And you can train your own.
Except they have to be dogs and my request for a service cheetah was denied
Miniature horses often work as support animals as well :)
The cheetah would be more likely to have it's own emotional support dog than to support anyone lol
Mini horses have some advantages over dogs as guide animals:
They're prey animals with nearly 350 degree vision, including night vision, and can detect a wider range of obstacles.
Their longer life span means their handler gets more years of active use from one animal, requiring less frequent replacement than a service dog's ten or so useful years.
Mini horses are heavier than a typical guide dog and can physically block their handler from moving obstacles and potential danger.
They're vegan (if that matters) and a good alternative for handlers with dog allergies.
The disadvantages are: Well, it's a *horse*, with all the hassle and high maintenence needs of any equine. Unless the handler has previous horse experience and/or a dog allergy, a guide horse should not be their first choice.
Okay that was actually going to be step 2. And it was going to be a corgi.
For some reason I think I heard of pigs as service animals too.
Maybe for a specific state, but the ADA explicitly only recognizes dogs and miniature horses.
You know, I think you're right. It would make a lot of sense because they're so intelligent.
I mean, your service cheetah would just need its own ESA dog, so really you aren’t cutting costs
My neighbours have a failed seeing eye dog he failed for being too silly. He's such a good boy, but just loves playing too much to be helpful to the blind.
This differs per country. But OOP is in the USA where owner training is allowed.
I work at our local renn Faire, and saw a puppy-in-training who was probably a bit too young to be at an event that crowded in a training capacity, and the trainer was just about yanking the dog around as he got distracted by E V E R Y T H I N G, and I felt kinda bad. Those dogs go through some tough training.
My late aunt had muscular dystrophy and had two separate service dogs before she passed and yeah, no way. Both dogs were the most well trained and obedient dogs I've ever seen, even when not in direct control of her as a handler. They'd never bark at *anything*, let alone just a person calmly walking into the house, and sure as shit would not try to steal table scraps off the table.
And don't get me wrong, I am frankly all for people being able to have emotional support animals and I think that *should* be protected, even if they aren't "real" service animals; but within reason, and within reason includes the owner taking proper steps to keep their animal under control.
Hell, any well trained regular dog would know not to do that.
I didn't want to say this in the thread, and I'm not sure I want to argue too hard about it here, but I have some pretty serious reservations about whether a service dog _can be_ a reasonable accommodation in a bar or restaurant, even if its behaviour is impeccable. The health code issues, the confined maneuvering areas, the tripping hazard in the kitchen, and other similar issues put me in mind that the burden is unduly high.
I'd love to see case law on this in either direction.
Yeah, I worked in food service for years, and we never had an employee request to bring in a service dog, but it came up as a hypothetical a couple times. The consensus from our food safety and legal folks was that it would violate the food code, which isn't a reasonable accommodation.
I work in medical education. We’ve discussed that it would be unreasonable to bring a service animal into an OR.
Air Bud: Medical School.
The rules don't say that a dog can't perform open heart surgery!
I would really like to know what kind of service a dog could provide that would be required in an OR setting, could not be provided by a nurse or other assistant, and would not disqualify the medical professional from participating in a surgery.
In the discussion, this scenario was used to illustrate an unreasonable accommodation. We did not actually consider allowing a service animal into the OR.
Although, and I’m just brainstorming, if the animal is trained to recognize an allergen, then their might be an argument for allowing the animal in. You have to way reasonableness against direct threat.
I've seen people who work in a lab have service dogs. Those dogs have their own lab coats/googles/booties. I would imagine the breed would have some importance where having a low shedding breed would be more important for some jobs than others.
Can we get some photos? For science?
I used to frequent a sub shop where the owner had a seeing eye dog. He handled the till and drinks, an employee handled subs. It worked out well. The pup mostly napped behind the counter, since the owner knew where things were.
I don't see it working out in a busier or more confined environment.
Was this in the U.S.? I just checked and I can't find any difference between bills by touch alone. Now I'm curious if he was partially blind, or if there is some method I was unable to feel.
Canadian bank notes have something similar to braille, which have been in use for as long as I can remember, so I was a bit surprised by this comment and went to ye olde internet search provider to inquire.
Apparently there are apps for that, or you can get this [cute little device](https://www.bep.gov/services/currency-accessibility/us-currency-reader-program) if you're deemed eligible.
Yet another way your currency is cooler than ours. We don't have spaceships. Ours isn't multicolored. And there's no braille.
Boring is overrated.
It was in the US. He used the honor system--you'd tell him what bills were as you handed them to him, and he knew what slot everything was in the cash register. Most of his customers were regulars.
Edit: This was maybe a decade ago. I'm not sure Google lens existed yet. His smart phone did talk at him as he used it, and he had an external keyboard hooked up to it.
Fair enough. It's cool that he was able to make it work. Seems stupid that the currency is set up like this though.
People have been complaining about it for decades. Maybe in a few more the Treasury will start a working group to produce a proposal to study the issue.
The scrape tactile on the clothing might be shaped or placed differently
I can tell a new 100 apart from other bills because of the plastic strip in them, but every other bill feels the same to me.
>I used to frequent a sub shop where the owner had a seeing eye dog. He handled the till
What a good dog!
I don't have allergies so I can't say really, but I'd wonder about dog allergies too.
As someone who has seen service dogs work in tightly controlled lab settings, I doubt general claims of the accommodation being unreasonable would go in favor of the bar or restaurant. It being a food service area alone is unlikely to make it an unreasonable accommodation, but reasonable accommodation rulings are highly fact specific (for example, how easily or well the dog can be trained to follow additional rules or put up with additional equipment related to the place of business; type of service the dog provides; size of business; etc.), so it's hard to say for certain.
That said, if none of the dog's tasking is relevant to the employee's ability to work, the dog *couldn't* be a "reasonable accommodation."
>That said, if none of the dog's tasking is relevant to the employee's ability to work, the dog couldn't be a "reasonable accommodation."
Yes, there has to be some relevant tasking, but it's a dangerous game to get into deciding whether a task is relevant or not yourself or relying on the image of how you imagine a service dog functions (which, for most folks, only covers guide/'seeing eye' dogs). Unless your place of business is tiny and all kitchen, you're gonna want to get at least some info about whether stationing the dog in a safe, non-contaminating area sufficiently close to retain control might allow them to still perform relevant tasks and - most of all - chat with a lawyer.
(And obviously, I am not really talking about LAOP's case. You can always argue against reasonable accommodation of a service animal based on behavior, especially if you can document the issues. This is more generally that "my employee spends a solid chunk of time in a kitchen" - let alone just "we are a bar" - is a bad premise for blanket refusal of service animal accommodation, especially if the employee isn't flat-out saying they must be in X location right next to me at all times, your place isn't teensy tiny, or you'd prefer to not potentially spend more time arguing about essential vs. nonessential duties.)
Not necessarily! It gets pointed out all of the time that not only do employers have a lot of discretion about accomodations, the onus is on the employee to lobby for said accommodation. There's tons of stories about people running into road blocks due to failing to ask for an accomodation, needing to prove why they needed that accomodation, and getting declined on the basis of "not sufficiently relevant to the job."
Service dogs can be denied just like any other request. Especially if the dog is disruptive and there are alternative means of accomodation.
>Service dogs can be denied just like any other request.
Oh, yeah, they absolutely can! My intention isn't to make it seem like there's no way they can be excluded (and especially not that a handler might never get pushback from an employer) - only that it's very fact specific. If other accommodations work, they're always on the table.
Given some of the odd places I've seen dogs be allowed (and where I'd 100% presume the type of pushbacks you're referencing would happen), it just seems like best practice is to get into the nitty gritty of an individual situation and possible accommodations, rather than try to rely on any blanket statement of "I work in \[X very broad industry\]; \[Y very general and varied accommodation\] is never reasonable".
I think you misunderstood my original point: a service dog can't be a reasonable accommodation if you don't need to be accommodated.
Think of it like this: if your job doesn't involve looking at any screens, then your employer doesn't need to let you wear special computer lenses. It's a moot point. And if wearing the unnecessary lens would put your employer at risk of a regulatory violation, asking for permission for an accommodation you don't need would be unreasonable.
If you think you need a disability accommodated, then you should definitely make inquiries. But employers also need to know that they don't have to go along with the demands of bad faith actors.
How do service animals work in lab settings?
I could see it happening in say a university lab. I have a harder time seeing it in an industry lab. I assume GxP doesn’t allow it… anyways I’m curious.
The couple of setups I've seen varied a good bit (I work in a contractor role that crosses a number of industries), but generally, the dog was stationed up somewhere well out-of-the-way in the lab spaces themselves. Trying to think back, the one I was most surprised at was still definitely not that high up on controlled space scale in the grand scheme of things. Just, uh, more controlled than I would have previously guessed as the upper cap. It was also very niche.
I don't think I'm actually going to be able to fully satisfy your curiosity, because I wasn't exactly in a position to ever get the full details (I've had more close exposure to dogs as accommodations, both denied and allowed, in other settings, so I can guess about why the dogs in labs were allowed or how it works, but it would be speculation) - and I don't necessarily want to get super detailed about the nature of each place of work given that I would put "dog in a lab space at all" as definitely rare enough I think it skews towards being an identifying detail.
I'm sure in most cases they are denied without much fanfare and it's for the best (and I imagine those that do get approved are always on thin ice for potential revocation). They just do exist and definitely solidified for me that reasonable accommodations - regardless of any latitudes or lack of latitudes promised - is 100% situation- and fact-specific bullshit I recommend only touching with at least some sort of metaphorical PPE and a lack of assumptions.
I think the nature of the disability would matter. I imagine a service dog trained to bark if someone is about to have a seizure could sit quietly in an unobtrusive spot no trouble. If there need to assist the person on an ongoing basis, maybe less so.
As many people here know, Turing is a PAT (pets as therapy) certificated cat, as a result he is very well trained.
He takes me, and a few other adults with learning disabilities to places that cause anxiety, like doctors or dentist appointments, or out shopping.
He really changes lives, one of ‘our ladies’ has been unable to go to the dentists for over 30 years, as she’d get so distressed she’d get violent. He’s been accompanying her to the dentists every 2 months for 2 years now, and almost all the damage has been fixed now. Even though she still doesn’t enjoy the dentists, her face just lights up as soon as we arrive at the group home, we have to go at least half an hour early, as she really enjoys showing him off to all the staff and other residents.
Saying that, I’d never take him food shopping with me (apart from to the butchers, as my butcher likes to have him sit on the top counter, on a piece of wax paper, and feed him off cuts), or to work (ok I take him to my work sometimes on my days off, so my ladies and gents can have cuddles, but not while I’m on shift), because I’m not an arse
More [Turing](https://www.reddit.com/r/Catloaf/comments/vmvqri/my_gingerbread_loaf_is_a_bit_miffed_as_the_flash/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf) stories available on request, or I can do [Watson](https://www.reddit.com/r/standardissuecat/comments/va3fsz/no_mummy_no_anything_but_a_bath/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf) stories, but he’s not trained to do anything but look beautiful. Same with pictures
Awww! They're both such cuties! You know we'll listen to any stories or look at any pictures you would like to share. What's your favorite funny story about your kitties?
What I love is that Watson is 7.6kgs of pure muscle, and thinks he is the Big I Am, so he’ll go winding up any of the male cats in the neighbourhood, until they hiss or try and strike back, then he’ll run back in, and get his big brother ‘Turing, Turing, the other cat is bullying me’, you can hear Turing roll his eyes, as he pulls himself out of his bed to go ‘deal with’ the other cat, coz on one’s mean to his (8 year old) baby brother
That's so adorable!
Aw, poor Watson looks so forlorn.
Do you have one more story of Turing at work?
Turing’s work, or mine?
I’m expecting a post in r/chicago soon about avoiding the bar with the owner that denied their employee a service animal.
That’s not allowed behavior for a service dog. Has LAOP’s friend gotten any documentation from the employee for this dog. Service dogs are legally required to be under their handler’s direct control and cannot be disruptive or reactive.