It didn’t take guts to request bringing my service dog to work. I benefitted from the legacy of previous generations and belonged to a union. I found union protection a great way to maintain my sanity while working in the kingdom of a modern corporation.
I find it sad that younger generations don’t appreciate what a union can do for them at work. Many workers don’t understand that it took over 75 years of union activism to bring about the eight hour workday. This did not happen out of the largesse of the corporate kings. The same holds true for the weekend. My grandfather worked ten-hour days, six days per week, something some in today’s workforce have re-adopted.
There are few constraints on the power of employers in today’s workplace. A robust government regulator is one and a strong union is another. Summarily relinquishing either of these effective workplace counterbalances weakens the employee position. Employees should not be treated as modern day serfs.
As to a service dog acting inappropriately in the workplace, I don’t believe that the ADA permits poor dog behavior. The companies need to overlook an occasional “accident,” but not repeated behavior. My dog, professionally bred and trained for service work had better workplace behavior than most of the humans!
No, I didn’t use a lawyer in the process but I did include my union representatives in many of the meetings with Human Resources. I also consulted with the non-profit agency that placed my dog with me. They were well versed in the Americans with Disabilities Act. And to be fair, many people in management were secretly rooting for me as they loved dogs, especially good looking and well-trained ones. Sometimes your allies are not always obvious.
I think the case which prompted your post is clearly a reasonable circumstance for the company to permit working from home. Forcing a person with diabetes to show up and possibly expose themselves to what could turn out to be a deadly virus is simply the action reminiscent of a capricious king. I hope that more enlightened heads prevail in this situation.
Faced with recalcitrant management and the absence of a union, a lawyer may be helpful to remind the company that they do still need to comply with the law. The problem is that lawyers cost a lot in the context of today’s wages. Companies know this and count on that reality to work in their favor.