What is the legal situation with regard to animals in the workplace?
Is there a claim to it?
No. The only exception are assistance dogs such as guide dogs, says the Krefeld lawyer Eugène Beaucamp, who specializes in animal welfare law. If there are then allergies or reservations in parts of the staff, the company has to weigh up interests. If you want to bring your non-assistance dog with you, you have to negotiate this separately and regulate it in writing – unless a company agreement already exists.
Are you allowed to make differences?
Between departments, yes. If, for example, dogs are allowed in the administration, this does not have to automatically apply to production. The decisive criterion is the comparability of the workplace, says lawyer Beaucamp.
Can the employer forbid bringing the dog with you?
That will be difficult in principle. There is the so-called operational exercise. If a company has practiced this consistently for a certain period of time, the employees can deduce from it that it will stay that way – unless the employer has kept the option open to end this practice. After about three years, in case of doubt, a regulation is in place.
Who is liable if something happens?
Basically the dog owner. But if the company allows external customers, customers, to stay on its premises, things can look different. It is generally advisable to regulate the subject of dogs in the office in writing. In this way, it can also be clarified under which conditions the permit is revoked – for example if the dog has bitten once. If the dog bites, your office dog career is over, so to speak.
Is a dog driving license necessary?
Basically yes. The company can also require proof if this is not required in the state, says the specialist lawyer Beaucamp. He has the impression that many employers are now seeing the benefits of having dogs in the office and are ready to conclude a company agreement. Also a permanent solution after the pandemic. AFP / nd