DEAR HARRIETTE: During and because of the pandemic, I adopted a large service dog for emotional support. I was told that I will not be able to bring my dog into the office because it is against company policy. I feel discriminated against because I have papers to ensure that my dog should be allowed with me in all spaces. Should I quit my job? I need my dog with me. -- Emotional Support
DEAR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT: The laws vary from state to state, so you need to check the specifics for where you live. That said, here are some basic things to know about having service dogs in public spaces. First, some common mental disabilities that qualify someone for an emotional support animal (ESA) are anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, chronic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, many states do not make allowances for emotional support animals. In California, for example, the law requires that public places admit trained service dogs and psychiatric service dogs, but not emotional support animals. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act and Georgia law, owners of public accommodations are not required to allow emotional support animals, only service animals.
The bottom line for you is to research the law in your state. But it is likely that you will be allowed to keep your dog at work only if it is due to a disability rather than an emotional reason. If you feel that you must keep your dog with you in order to function well at work and your company absolutely will not allow it, it is time to look for a new job that makes the accommodation that you need. Look carefully before you leave, though, as the search may not be easy.