Steps to Implementing a Successful Pets in the Workplace Policy

HEL Blog post
Published On: April 26, 2023Categories: Blog, Employers

Prior to Allowing Pets

We suggest that employers undertake a survey of employees to determine:

  1. The extent of interest in bringing pets to work and information about what pets employees want to bring (i.e. pythons v poodles). Obviously if a significant number do not express interest, it is not worth proceeding further. If large numbers are interested, you will likely need to plan to limit the numbers each day;
  2. For those interested, how often they would like to bring their pet to work;
  3. Whether any employees have pet allergies (or other medical issues with pets) and if so, to what pets.

Assuming the employer wants to go ahead with pets, a policy and companion application form must be developed. Some points the policy should cover include:

  1. The employer’s broad discretion to refuse, limit or withdraw pet privileges (other than for employees who need to bring a service animal) for any reason, including but not limited to violent, disruptive, unsafe or unsanitary behaviour;
  2. Mentioning the need to balance the rights of employees who fear or are allergic to pets;
  3. The requirement that the pet owner accept full supervisory, toileting and financial liability in writing as a condition of bringing their pet to work. We recommend pet owners be required to sign an agreement accepting full responsibility for their pet at all times;
  4. Limiting breaks and time off work to attend to a pet;
  5. The requirement for the pet owner to prove, as a condition of being considered under the policy, that their pet has all required vaccinations, is properly toilet and obedience trained (for dogs at least), can lie quiet for long periods and has no history of ignoring commands or attacking people or other pets.

It is also prudent to allow each new pet on a trial basis for a few days to confirm they are suitable for the workplace. Some pets simply do not want to leave their home or become fearful or agitated when others, even friendly co-workers are present.

With these tips, employers should be able to navigate the perils of pets in the workplace.

If you want more information on this topic, you can contact us at:

Geoffrey Howard:  

604 424-9686

Sebastian Chern:   

604 424-9688