(July 30, 2018) – Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, and Canine Companions for Independence®, a non-profit organization that provides highly trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities at no charge, are pleased to announce the formation of a strategic partnership.
Accommodating requests from employees and customers to bring service animals into their workplaces or facilities has become increasingly complex for companies. The issue is intensified by the rise in instances of people using fake vests to pass family pets off as service animals, which undermines the acceptance of legitimate service dogs and creates headaches for companies. As part of this partnership, Littler and Canine Companions will work together to address this issue and provide guidance for companies on managing service animal accommodation requests in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Canine Companions is a very worthwhile organization and we look forward to working together to educate companies on the myriad issues surrounding service animal accommodation, while further raising awareness of the vital services Canine Companions provides in matching individuals with disabilities with assistance dogs,” said Tom Bender and Jeremy Roth, co-managing directors of Littler, in a joint statement.
“We have worked closely with Littler during the past year to raise awareness of the proper use of service dogs in the workplace and business facilities, and are excited to embark on this formal partnership,” said Canine Companions Chief Development Officer Barbara Barrow. “Littler’s depth of experience in the legal aspects of service-animal accommodation, as well as its commitment to expanding the availability of assistance dogs for people with disabilities, make the firm a perfect partner. We look forward to combining our resources to continue to provide support to people with disabilities and help prevent service-dog fraud.”
In their work together to date, Littler and Canine Companions hosted a breakfast briefing in San Francisco in October 2017 on employment and public accommodation requirements for service animals. Canine Companions was also featured at Littler’s 35th annual Executive Employer Conference in May 2018, including an interview from the conference floor on employee requests to bring service animals into the workplace. As part of its formal partnership, Littler and Canine Companions will be hosting a series of educational events in the coming months, including:
- Littler Breakfast Briefing in Washington, D.C., September 5, 2018
- Littler Breakfast Briefing in Philadelphia, September 6, 2018
- Littler Regional Employer Conference in Las Vegas, September 12, 2018
- Littler Regional Employer Conference in Reno, Nevada, September 13, 2018
- California State Council of SHRM in Redding, California, September 26, 2018
- California State Council of SHRM in Monterey, California, November 15, 2018
Peter Petesch, a shareholder in Littler’s Washington, D.C., office who regularly advises clients on service animal accommodations in the workplace, added: “As we continue to see an uptick in questions related to service animals from our clients, this partnership with Canine Companions will be beneficial in helping companies ensure a safe and sensible environment for employees and customers in accommodating these requests.”
About Canine Companions for Independence
Canine Companions for Independence provides highly-trained assistance dogs to children, veterans and adults with disabilities. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has six training centers across the country in Northern CA, Southern CA, NY, OH, FL and TX. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. Since its inception, Canine Companions has placed 6,000 assistance dogs with people with disabilities. Give Independence—and Give a Dog a Job®. Visit cci.org
Littler is the largest global employment and labor law practice, with more than 1,500 attorneys in 80 offices worldwide. Littler represents management in all aspects of employment and labor law and serves as a single-source solution provider to the global employer community. Consistently recognized in the industry as a leading and innovative law practice, Littler has been litigating, mediating and negotiating some of the most influential employment law cases and labor contracts on record for over 75 years. Littler Global is the collective trade name for an international legal practice, the practicing member entities of which are separate and distinct professional firms.