Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Pets in the Workplace

Introduction

The University recognizes the important role of pets in the lives of some employees and students. This defines the policies within which pet visits to campus are welcome.

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions will apply:

Pet Owner

Anyone working or studying at the university, including faculty, staff, administrators, students, temporary employees, or others who bring a pet to campus.

Pet

A domestic animal that is owned by, resides with, and is cared for by an employee or student. This will include dogs, cats, and fish in aquariums holding less than 25 gallons of water.  For the purposes of this policy, pets are not snakes, ferrets, rats and spiders.  Those with questions about domestic animals that are not specifically addressed here should call the offices listed at the end of this policy statement.  Decisions about the appropriateness of bringing a pet to campus will be made on any potential risk to the pet and to people in the community, and to the perceived disruptions caused by the pet.

University Commitment

The University will ensure that applicable legal requirements are met. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA), Responsibility: The university has a general duty to create a safe and healthful working environment for employees.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Responsibility: The university must provide reasonable accommodations for employees and students with documented disabilities as defined by law.

Allowed and Restricted Areas

In consideration for the general well-being, health and safety of all members of the campus community, the following lists detail areas where pets are allowed and restricted areas.

Areas Of Campus Where Pets Are Allowed:
  • Outdoors, on leash, and accompanied by pet owner
  • Individual private offices with walls and door.  This includes the private office of the pet owner as well as the private offices of colleagues of the pet owner, where advance permission has been obtained from that person.  For example, a pet owner may bring his/her pet to a small meeting in a colleague's private office, provided that the colleague has given permission to the pet owner to do so.  (Note: see exceptions under "Restricted" section below.)
  • All areas used by employees or students with documented disabilities who are assisted by designated guide or working pets
  • Classrooms and instructional facilities only when pets or demonstration animals are used by faculty members for teaching purposes
Restricted Areas

Pets are not allowed in locations or situations other than those noted as allowed in the previous section.  Such areas of campus where pets are not allowed include:

  • Areas that are open to the public and commonly used, such as libraries, foyers, bathrooms, copy rooms, lounges, meeting and conference rooms, except as necessary to travel en route to permitted locations
  • Classrooms and training labs (except for instructional purposes as noted above)
  • Dining and food preparation areas; kitchenettes; break-rooms
  • Health and medical facilities
  • Private offices that are essentially public areas due to the frequency with which they are visited by others and used for meetings
  • The University Center
  • Computing and Telecommunications machine room
  • Residence halls and offices in residence hall buildings, except as allowed per Student Life Division policies (Note: see "Residence Halls" section below.)
  • Any area or situation in which another person has raised a legitimate concern for health or other reasons about the presence of a pet, except for designated guide or working pets assisting employees or students with documented disabilities.

Residence Halls

No pets other than fish are allowed in the residence halls.  Aquariums may not exceed 25 gallons of water.

Pet Owner Commitment

Employees and students are welcome to bring pets into the working and learning environment in accordance with this policy.  Pets must be cared for in a responsible manner that ensures the safety of those on campus, as well as the safety of the pet.

Copies of the procedures will be available in Human Resource Services and in the offices of the Provost and the Vice Presidents for Student Life and Finance & Operations.  It is the responsibility of the pet owner to obtain and follow the procedures.

Communication

Before bringing a pet to campus, the pet owner will check first with others in the work or learning environment to ensure that there are no concerns, such as allergies to dogs, etc.  In the event of legitimate health problems, the pet may not be brought to that area.  Otherwise, employees and/or students are encouraged to work together to find a reasonable compromise that is acceptable to everyone.  If the pet owner requires the animal's presence due to a documented disability, then reasonable accommodation will be made.

Lab Animals

Procedures governing the use of lab animals in Rieke Science Center or other locations and situations will be addressed by the Division of Natural Sciences, the Animal Usage Committee, and/or other appropriate offices and committees.

Questions

Employee questions about this policy should be directed to Human Resource Services at x7185.  Student residence hall questions should be directed to Residential Life at x7200.  Student questions regarding other campus buildings should be directed to Student Life at x7191.

Last Modified: December 17, 2013 at 01:55 PM