What to Consider When Drafting an Office Pet Policy

If you are currently working with a Denver professional employment organization (a Denver PEO), or you are considering hiring one, there are a myriad of employee issues that spur the need to bring in a PEO. Most recently, pets in the office have become an HR question.

Not so many years ago, the idea of bringing pets to work would never have been an issue but now, bringing pets to work has become increasingly popular. More and more businesses realize the perks of having pets in the office such as stress-relief, better communication, and a decrease in employee absences. However, bringing animals into the workplace adds additional risks and safety factors to the workplace. If you allow employees to bring their furry friends into work, here are a few things to take into consideration before you or your Denver PEO drafts an office pet policy.

Only Well Trained and Well Behaved Pets

Make sure pets have no past aggressive history, such as previously biting anyone. Additionally, behavior like barking, growling, or biting, should not be tolerated and should result in the pet’s dismissal from the office. Animals should be potty-trained, respectful of other people’s space and belongings, and most importantly, friendly. Designating “pet-free” zones in the office helps ensure animals don’t wander into conference rooms or eat employee’s lunches from the break room.

Vaccinations

Employees should make sure shots and vaccines are up to date, and that no worms, fleas, ticks, or parasites are present before bringing pets to work. Pets should be properly groomed and wear a collar for identification in case they wander and get lost.

Liability

Before bringing animals to work, employees should confirm, in writing, that they have homeowners’ or renters’ insurance to cover any potential damages caused by the pet. Some businesses have implemented indemnification measures in case of a lawsuit, and written paycheck deduction agreement for any occurred damages.

People Come First

Allowing pets in the office should never make employees feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. If you have to decide between an employee and a pet, you should always pick the employee. Taking turns and limiting the number of pets in the office per day is a good way to prevent overwhelming employees who aren’t as familiar with animals.

Drafting an office pet policy is one part common sense and one part familiarity with employment regulations. And of course, pets that are licensed service animals are always excluded from pet policies as the American Disabilities Act (the ADA) has jurisdiction over those types of animals in the workplace.

If you need help drafting an office pet policy, contact Staffscapes to help you put one in place that is friendly to both pets and employees.

Written By: Jim Thibodeau