what happens if I get hired at a dog-friendly company when I’m allergic to dogs?

A reader writes:

I am going to have an-person interview with a company that would be a great fit for me, and me for them. When I did research on them, I found out that they have a work environment where dogs are brought in daily. I am allergic to dogs. I would not be able to work in the office (and there’s only one day of teleworking allowed per week). I looked into allergies, and the ADA says allergies are a disability, but I am still worried that they wouldn’t hire me because of this. But, I am worried about my health if I work there. If I talk to them about this, would they change their dog policy and sanitize their office? Would they pay for allergy shots? What if those didn’t work? Would they not hire me because of this? How would I even bring this up without affecting my chances?

Allergies may or may not be covered under the ADA; it depends on their severity and impact on you. (With the exception of HIV, the ADA doesn’t list specific conditions that it covers, but instead covers “physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities,​ such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking or breathing.” So if dogs make you a little sniffly, you might not be covered. If they impair your ability to breathe, you likely would be.)

If you’re covered, the employer would be required to enter into an interactive process with you to figure out how to accommodate you. That might include having you work from a dog-free area of the building or from home, or you getting allergy shots (you would likely pay for those yourself, or your insurance would).

If it turns out that the only accommodation that would work is for them to stop allowing people to bring their dogs to work … that’s a tricky outcome. It can be tough to be seen as the person who caused everyone else to lose a benefit they really liked (and which could even have been the reason some of them took the job), especially if you knew before accepting the offer that this element of their culture wouldn’t work for you.

Ultimately, there are two different ways to look at this: what the law allows you to do, and what it makes sense to do.

For a purely legal standpoint, you’re not obligated to disclose your allergy until after you’ve received and accepted an offer. And in theory, you could wait until that point to raise it and ask about accommodations. At that point, if you are indeed covered by the ADA, they can’t withdraw the offer without violating the law. And legally, your right to breathe at work will trump other employees’ right to have their dogs there, even if they and their dogs were there first.

But from the standpoint of what will get you the best outcome here, it might be smarter to raise this before you accept the offer and see if it can be worked out without them having to eliminate what’s probably seen as a key perk by many on their staff. Again, you’re not legally required to do that, and the law certainly doesn’t require you to self-select out even if you get the sense that this will be a big, demoralizing thing for the rest of their staff — but it’s likely going to be useful for you to know if that’ll be the case.

{ 1,270 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. brainjacker

    I’m super allergic to dogs (even though I love them!) and know what a hardship this kind of office would be – OP, why do you want to work here if your allergies are really that prohibitive? Just like if you needed an office and the company was open-concept, or you didn’t want a long commute and it was 45 minutes+ away, this seems like a disqualifier that implies it wouldn’t be a good fit.

    Reply
    1. MuseumChick

      I assume she wants the job for the same standard reasons most people want a job: Pay, location, work you love, a company you admire, etc.

      Your argument..it’s a pretty slippery slope. If this does rise to the level of a disability you could insert all kinds of disabilities and office sets ups that make you make your argument pretty horrific.

      Reply
      1. Temperance

        I definitely don’t disagree with you, but there are plenty of reasons why LW might not want to proceed, even if her allergy rises to the ADA compliance level.

        I wouldn’t want to be the person who made it so Jane and Fergus (and Harry, Hermione, and Ron) couldn’t bring their dogs to work.

        Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          I agree that being target because you are the person that “took” a perk away from others would be a really tough spot to be in. On the other hand I just think its super gross that people would think their pet is more important than someone else ability to breath (again, if this dose rise to that level) and I think its extra super gross that some advise people with disability to basically just-get-a-job-at-a-different-company.

          Reply
            1. anonny

              Ok don’t bother jumping on me for my last comment, I googled it and apparently allergies ARE a disability. I have allergies and I don’t consider myself to be “disabled” so I’m just going to back away from this conversation now because I can already tell I’m not going to enjoy participating in it. Nevermind me!

              Reply
              1. MuseumChick

                Yeah, it comes down the the severity of the allergy. Runny nose and itchy eyes = probably not a disability. Not able to breath = probably a disability.

                Reply
              2. Justme, The OG

                I have friends with allergies to things like latex or fragrances that are severe enough to be considered disabilities.

                Reply
              3. Jessie the First (or second)

                Annony, allergies are NOT always a disability. Many aren’t, some are. That’s the first sentence of Alison’s answer.

                The ADA covers any health issue if it is severe/pervasive enough, but it’s generally a case by case, facts and circumstances analysis – not a simple list of conditions that are/are not covered. So some comments here are simply responding as if, for the sake if argument, it IS severe enough to be considered a disability.

                That does not mean you, anonny, have a disability because of your allergy. But it is possible for an allergy to have a significant enough impact on daily life that it could in fact be a disability.

                Reply
                1. anonny

                  YUP, and that’s why I corrected myself in my second comment and said I looked it up and saw that I was incorrect. So what is your comment adding to the conversation? Just to tell me I’m wrong when I already commented that I was wrong?

                2. Also Allergic

                  Annony, I do think Jessie’s comment added to the conversation – your points (before and after) were both black and white – they aren’t, and then they are. It was great you clarified a bit, but Jessie is further clarifying (as Alison did) that it’s not necessarily black and white, its’ a spectrum between mild allergies and disabilities. I think it’s a helpful point to keep in mind.

                3. Irishgal

                  “Disabled” from an employment law perspective is not the same as disabled from a medical perspective; same word, very different meaning depending on the context.

                1. fposte

                  What makes something a disability under the ADA is dependent on how much it interferes with your life. It has definitely been ruled to include some allergies.

                  If you’re thinking about qualifying for SSDI, that’s a very different bar, and it’s not the one that would be relevant for a workplace.

              4. JSPA

                They are a disability if they are disabling. They’re not, if they’re not. Pretty much like any other physical issue (?).

                Reply
            2. TardyTardis

              Sometimes allergies can kill (like garlic, which causes my husband’s throat to close up and him not to breathe. It’s rough being a vampire these days!).

              Reply
          1. Doe-Eyed

            I don’t think that’s a fair comparison – people don’t think their dogs are more important than someone’s ability to breathe, like they’re not going into her house with their dogs and laughing at she struggles to breathe. They were promised a perk to work there, and that perk may be taken away because a person with allergies decided they wanted to work at a dog friendly office. It’s human to be upset by that, especially when she was aware of the office culture beforehand.

            It’d be like someone with a deadly peanut allergy deciding they wanted to work in an office where one of the perks was big open bowls of free peanuts.

            Reply
            1. Tuxedo Cat

              I’m not a fan of offices that allow pets, but from what I understand, that sometimes factors into why people pick their jobs. Having that perk rescinded might mean hiring a dog sitter or taking the dog to dog daycare.

              I’m not saying that it should take priority over a real allergy, but this perk is important to people and it can change someone’s finances or life a little.

              Reply
              1. nonymous

                Not just a little. Near my home doggie daycare is ~$500/month. Close to where my husband works, doggie daycare is ~$700/month. However, since hubby starts work at 6A, there would be a $25/day early drop off fee. Presumably people with small lapdogs can train them to go in a litterbox, but what are large-dog owners supposed to do if there is a policy change?

                While I don’t think that it’s imperative that employers provide dog-friendly workplaces, I do think that if employers expect staff to work on a schedule that precludes enough time for a reasonable personal life (even if that’s only during sprint week), they need to compensate at a level that allows staff to outsource those obligations.

                Reply
                1. So long and thanks for all the fish

                  I believe there exists the dog-equivalent of a litter box for dogs of any size- but they’re expensive, and don’t help with dogs like mine who do not do well without company.

              2. EddieSherbert

                Yeah, this is what I was going to say – it’s not that anyone wants to cause someone else hardship (or LITERALLY make it so they can’t breath!).

                But if that’s a major reason someone wanted/accepted the job (and that one is a BIG DEAL in my opinion), it IS going to cause some resentment if OP “takes that perk away from them.”

                Doesn’t mean it’s fair or correct of her potential coworkers – that’s just realistically how it would go if she pushed for the dogs to be gone.

                So it depends on if OP is prepared for that, and understands she likely may starting in a rough place socially if she takes a job there :/

                Reply
              3. LV426

                I work in a dog friendly company. I specifically chose this place to work because of the perk that I can bring my dog to work with me. I aggressively searched and applied to every dog friendly company because of my situation. My dog has hemangiosarcoma which is an agressive form of cancer that can result in unexpected and massive bleeds. I bring him to work with me so I have the peace of mind that he isn’t lying at home bleeding to death while I’m at work. Hiring a pet sitter isn’t an option for cost reasons and he can’t go to a doggy daycare because the vaccinations that he’s required to get can cause tumor growth. If someone who knows they can’t be around dogs started working at my company and forced all of us to stop bringing our dogs to work I would be severely angry at that person. It would also result in about 15 people in my office alone to start looking for alternative employment because of our situations. There are 15 dogs in my office whose owners relocated and/or quit their old jobs to accomodate the needs of our pets which to us are like our children.

                If you’re allergic to dogs then don’t apply for a job where there are dogs. If you had a peanut allergy you wouldn’t apply at a peanut factory.

                Reply
                1. myswtghst

                  “It would also result in about 15 people in my office alone to start looking for alternative employment because of our situations.”

                  This is one thing I wondered about – when perks change, regardless of reasons, it can lead to people leaving. Even if the staff are all genuinely mature and nice to the new employee, and don’t hold it against them personally if the dog-friendly perk is taken away, it’s definitely possible losing that perk could lead to an exodus of good employees.

                2. Gatomon

                  @myswtghst I think it’s good to step back and look at this as any other perk (teleworking, free lunches, on-site daycare, etc.) What your employer giveth they can taketh away.

                  @LV426 I totally understand why losing that perk would cause you to leave; I know a few people with special needs dogs who would really benefit from such a policy at their workplace. I do feel that accommodations should trump perks when there are clashes though, and I think the business has to put obtaining the employees it needs to be successful over maintaining perks, especially ones that can be controversial.

                3. Forrest

                  I think her point is that the company would lose 15 people if they took away the perk. That’s a high cost to obtain one employee.

                4. aa

                  “If you’re allergic to dogs then don’t apply for a job where there are dogs. If you had a peanut allergy you wouldn’t apply at a peanut factory.”

                  The thing is, unless you work in a dog kennel, yours isn’t “a job where there are dogs”. It’s a job in which you get bringing your dog to work as a perk. And perks can be removed.

                  I fail to see why your having a dog trumps someone else’s allergy. Yes, you need a job, but so does the other person.

                5. Ace

                  That analogy only works if you are working at a job that centres around dogs, like a pet store, kennel, groomer, or shelter. A typical desk job has nothing to do with dogs, so, no.

              4. Cornflower Blue

                I would be willing to take a cut in pay, vacation days, etc, if it meant that I could have my dog in office with me. It’d be such a massive perk, honestly, and I think that Alison has a very valid point that some people might’ve specifically taken the job because of said perk.

                Imagine if instead of dogs in an office, it was an extra week of vacation that gets cancelled if you get hired. There’s no logical reason why that would ever happen, but think about it in terms of a lot of employees unhappy about losing something they love and that they’d blame you for.

                I just feel like that it’d be coming into an office with a black mark already against you, which does not sound great to someone like me who already gets super anxious about social situations (which is one of the reasons that I would love love love to have my therapy dog with me, but that’s sadly impossible since I don’t live in a country that even recognizes them).

                Reply
            2. Hey Karma, Over here.

              This made me wonder…what if you have a peanut allergy and you apply for a job at Texas Roadhouse or one of the peanuts everywhere chains?
              Would you have to disclose that when you interviewed? Once you were hired, would you have to have someone else bus the tables because there are shells all over? Would this be a legitimate accommodation?
              I’m not trying to jump to the most bizarre situation, I’m genuinely curious if anyone has experience with this.
              thanks

              Reply
              1. Temperance

                I worked at a gas station when I was in college, and helped my boss with hiring. A guy came in and wanted to work overnights. When we interviewed him, he said he could do all aspects of the job, including cooking and serving gas station junk food. He started working, and apparently had a religious objecting to serving meat and dairy products, which he did NOT disclose at the interview (or he wouldn’t have gotten the job, because it was part of the job duties).

                He worked alone. He was apparently refusing to fill customer orders because of his religious objection.

                He was offered a different shift, and we put someone else on overnights. He ended up quitting because he only had overnight availability, but he was honestly pissed and shocked that a.) we were informed of the customer complaints about him not serving food, b.) felt lied to when he said he would do the job, and c.) wouldn’t let him work that shift.

                Reply
                1. stitchinthyme

                  This to me is analogous with pharmacists who refuse to dispense certain prescriptions due to their religious beliefs. Seems to me like if your religion prevents you from doing all aspects of your job, you need to find another job.

                2. Naptime Enthusiast

                  @ stitchinthyme, not to get too political but I also jumped straight to marriage licenses – if your religious beliefs prevent you from performing your duties and there is no way not to perform said duties, then you need to find another job where the two don’t clash. I feel like in Temperance’s example they really tried to work with the guy but couldn’t come to a resolution.

                3. stitchinthyme

                  Yup, same sort of thing as the marriage licences. I’ve read of some cases where people not only refuse to do their jobs due to their religion, but also refuse to allow for any workarounds as well, because even THAT would violate their religion, because even if they’re not doing it directly, they’re still “aiding and abetting” something they don’t believe in. (For example, getting a coworker to do the marriage license or fill the prescription.) Leaving aside whether or not you agree with their views, I think it’s a reasonable thing to say that if your beliefs don’t allow you to do your job or even pass those duties to someone else, you really should not be in that job.

                4. Someone who tries her best

                  As a religious person, I agree with you completely.

                  However, that also works in reverse. Please don’t apply for a job at a religious school or church, and then complain that they expect you to abide by their religious scruples while working there.

                  I think especially of Catholic schools who hire teachers who have a code of conduct, but then get taken to court when the teacher does not want to abide by the code of conduct.

                  I am not Jewish, but I work at a very religious Jewish school. I knew that going in. I abide by their rules while on campus.

                  Fair is fair…both ways.

              2. Hannah

                I think that falls under “Reasonable” accommodation. I think it can be made that if you are applying for a job as a peanut sheller, and it turns out you can’t touch peanuts or be in the same room as them, you really just can’t be a peanut sheller. The accommodation would mean you can’t do any part of your job, and that isn’t reasonable.

                Whereas if your job was “sandwich maker” and only 1% of the sandwiches were pb and j, it might be reasonable to have someone else make those and you can just make some extra turkey sandwiches.

                Reply
                1. Anonymouse

                  This. I am allergic (deathly allergic) to latex which means I really shouldn’t be working in an industry that for example, creates and produces latex gloves. But in a medical setting or restaurant setting it would be a reasonable accommodation to switch out all the latex gloves with non-latex alternatives (which is happening in a lot of places already).

                2. JM60

                  +1

                  It makes a difference whether the thing they need to be protected from is an intrinsic part of the business (a peanut factory) or if it’s a perk not intrinsically related to the business operations (an accounting firm having peanuts in open bowls throughout the office). It’s understandable that someone who took advantage of the perk of bringing their dog to work would become upset if that perk went away, but for most jobs, it’s not intrinsic to the operations of the business.

                  I think that if someone is considering a job partly because it comes with the perk of being able to take their pet to work, they should keep in mind that that perk is volatile, and factor that into they’re decision.

              3. Jesca

                Good point. I am curious as well. It makes that “reasonable accommodation” rather difficult for both the employee and employer. But I also think that dogs just don’t belong at work.

                Allergies aside, there are plenty of other reasons why people wouldn’t want to work in offices with pets in open areas. I think employers go into this idea with great intentions
                of office perks without ever thinking it through totally. It does create a climate and environment that can become very exclusive to lots of people. I am of the mindset that the best places to work are places filled with diffierent types of people with different mindsets, skills, and out looks. It, in my opinion, breeds a more inclusive and productive environment. I think companies should avoid adding perks that also add higher restrictions.

                A restaurant is tough because they are serving an allergy. It would be like working at an animal shelter with allergies. It is part of the actual service the company performs. But in a general office environment, it would be kind of foolish to allow free peanuts out in the open for all to enjoy and throw around at will. Just the same with pets.

                Reply
                1. my two cents

                  To that point, I likely wouldn’t choose to work at a place that had a ‘kegorator’ or perks like that. I do drink alcohol on occasion, but there’s something off-putting to me about a workplace booze stash. Oh, also I will avoid open-concept workplaces as long as I possibly can.

              4. Cube Ninja

                Not an ADA/employment lawyer, but I’m reasonably confident that a restaurant that specifically uses peanuts or other potential allergens as part of their core menu items wouldn’t be required to accommodate those allergies in staff if it meant much beyond ensuring they have ready access to their own medications as needed. I doubt that respirators as a server would be considered reasonable, for example. With that said, the mental image of someone with a seafood allergy working in a SCUBA kit at a high end restaurant makes me giggle a little.

                Taken more directly, if someone with a severe peanut allergy were to apply at Five Guys (which has salted-in-shell peanuts on demand and bits of shell/husk/etc *everywhere*), I can’t see how the employer would be able to provide reasonable accommodations without causing significant disruption to the business.

                Reply
                1. Cube Ninja

                  Aaaaand in reading a couple comments above and re-reading my own, I should clarify:

                  As always with ADA, the key word is “reasonable accommodation”. Hanna’s 1% sandwich example is perfect. That’s a reasonable accommodation. Allergies severe enough to cause issues simply being in the same general space would likely not be covered by ADA because the employee would be unable to perform their job functions even WITH reasonable accommodations.

                  I didn’t mean to suggest that employers would never have to accommodate allergies. :)

                2. dreamingofthebeach

                  @cubeninja — I think we can start a new restaurant chain here…”Under the sea”, with SCUBA servers, catch your own meal tanks, sandy floors and seagulls for effect!

              5. fposte

                I don’t think there’d be any suitable accommodation that would meet the standard for reasonability there. There’s no real way to accommodate front of house staff who can’t safely be front of house.

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                1. Anna

                  I’m curious why the assumption in Alison’s response is that one of the reasonable accommodations is to ban dogs. I mean, dogs aren’t 100% necessary for the work, but it feels like that’s the extreme response and not a reasonable accommodation.

                2. fposte

                  @Anna–you’ve answered it yourself. Because dogs aren’t necessary for the work. “Reasonable” doesn’t mean “not a big change.” Now, as Observer notes, that doesn’t mean this couldn’t be argued the other way, depending on factors, but just because it affects a lot of people doesn’t mean it’s not reasonable.

                3. Anna

                  I may be alone in this, but a massive cultural change that might be a significant reason a lot of people applied to a company might be a little unreasonable.

                4. Perse's Mom

                  …a massive cultural change that might be a significant reason a lot of people applied to a company might be a little unreasonable.

                  The company could certainly make that argument. I’m kind of curious what the track record looks like for cases like this.

              6. trebond98

                I have a peanut allergy and I wouldn’t apply to work there or at the enclosed Five Guys. It just wouldn’t make sense.

                Reply
                1. MuseumChick

                  That would fall under “essential job function” which the ADA does not require and employer to change. So if the OP is apply a vets office, then yes, she would be in the wrong and they won’t need to accommodate her. If as it sounds it’s a typical office where interact with job is not part of the job, then they have to find an accommodation for her.

            3. Cee Bee

              and what if one of the reasons someone is bringing a dog to work is because that dog is a companion / therapeutic need?

              Reply
              1. Antilles

                First off, as a general comment, there’s actually no such thing as an companionship/therapeutic dog under the ADA (state/local laws might include these, but not the federal ADA). In order to qualify for protection under the ADA, the service dog must be able to do specific tasks that directly relate to the disability in question – walking a person with impaired vision, pressing buttons, etc. Emotional support animals, companion dogs, and therapeutic dogs which make people feel better but without performing a specific task don’t fall under this category and therefore are not legally protected. So if the only reason people are bringing dogs is as emotional support, then the result is pretty straightforward from a legal perspective – OP’s ADA-protected allergies override the desire of others to have non-ADA companion dogs.
                But let’s say that someone in the office has a seeing-eye dog or hearing dog which do meet the ADA standard for service animals. In that case, the company gets into an interesting conundrum where the ADA needs of two employees conflict – OP’s allergies versus DogOwner’s seeing eye dog. In this case, the first thing would be for management to sit down and see if some accommodation could be made that would satisfy both – putting them in offices at opposite ends of the building so they don’t interact, modifying schedules so one can telecommute most of the time, etc. However, if there’s absolutely no reasonable accommodation that can thread-the-needle, then the company would theoretically be allowed to deny either OP’s allergies or DogOwner’s dog…but it’d be a rough situation either way for the company and it gets super tricky.

                Reply
              2. Falling Diphthong

                There was a post about that a while back–allergy vs therapy dog. If possible, you put the two people in different areas. But in a small office, that isn’t possible. Then someone ‘wins’ (or gives up and quits) because there is no accommodation that can satisfy both at once.

                I am with the OP that if something would be a great job except for this one dealbreaker that is clear in advance, then you look for a different job.

                Reply
                1. Puffyshirt

                  This is what is vexing to me, too. OP says the job is a great fit except for one big thing… so it sounds like it’s not a great fit… So why pursue it? I am actually scared of dogs and would definitely not be able to concentrate in that environment. So for me, it would clearly not be a culture fit. I’m also not a Catholic, so I would apply to work at the Vatican.

                2. EddieSherbert

                  Yeah, as unfair is it is, it sounds like it’s NOT a great fit for OP and she should strongly consider looking elsewhere. I don’t even like saying that – because it’s SO unfair – but that’s my honest opinion. Sorry OP!

            4. SignalLost

              Man, have I got a post for you! The related links’ top link demonstrates, both in the post and in the comments, that actually, quite a few people think their dogs take priority over someone else’s right to breathe. The follow-up to the post is even more horrifying in terms of the company’s actions.

              Reply
                1. SignalLost

                  Under Alison’s reply there is a section of three “related” links. The top post in that section is the one I’m referring to, since postlung links can be tricky. “My new office is full of dogs and I’m allergic” is the name of it.

              1. Wintermute

                Because there are people that took these jobs BECAUSE they allow pets. Not having that perk means not having the job. They’re not saying “my animals come before you” they’re saying “I was here first, our needs are incompatible, sorry but rank has its privileges”

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                1. mrs__peel

                  “I was here first” doesn’t really work when medical needs and the ADA come into play.

              2. bookbot

                This is pretty common. You should see librarians get a on a tear about library cats. It’s pretty awful to see people priortize accessory animals over people. I say accessory because the animals serve no purpose other than being cute to look at, whereas people are there to do work and serve patrons. And no I can’t just “pop a benadryl” and suffer through a workday just because you think cats and books go together, for some reason. (For what it’s worth, I love cats. I just can’t touch them or be in an enclosed space with them).

                Reply
                1. TardyTardis

                  Our library loved our cat, Boris. It wasn’t till a doctor pushed his daughter into writing a complaint that anybody cared, since the library was rather large and was vacuumed quite well on a regular basis. Now Boris lives at the local newspaper (upstairs from the public area).

            5. peachie

              Agreed. The “dogs-in-the-office” issue seems to bring out some strong opinions about the kind of people who want to take their dog to work (and, to a lesser extent, vice versa).

              Reply
                1. alannaofdoom

                  If there’s not already a Far Side comic (or, alternatively, a New Yorker cartoon?) on this theme, there really should be.

            6. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              Agreed—it’s different when there’s a pre-existing work “perk” that’s suddenly taken away. As unfair as it may sound, I think people are more likely to feel bitter if someone knew there were dogs, was allergic to dogs, applied anyway, and then disclosed after hiring. It seems more calculating and people are more likely to side-eye the new hire, even though it may be a completely legitimate and legally-protected approach.

              And it’s a bit more intense than the peanut example; people become emotionally invested in their pets in a way that they do not become invested in peanuts (at least in my experience).

              I worked in a dog-friendly office that made it clear that the dog would be there (and advised people with allergies to take that into consideration). The accommodation for someone with allergies would have made the job much less meaningful and much less attractive.

              Reply
              1. Oranges

                And you know what? They can totally limit their candidate pool that way (while also opening it up but I’m probably biased because I’m allergic to dogs and I hate dog smell…. sorry).

                It’s one of those tricky areas because context matters a lot. What if it’s the only tech company in a small town and the LW couldn’t leave? How about wouldn’t leave? Would that change the advice?

                It’s so much fun to figure out where the consensus boundaries are around personal vs group rights.

                Reply
                1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                  If OP has an ADA-level allergy, though, the employer actually can’t limit their candidate pool that way (although that’s certainly what my boss was signaling). Context matters, but there’s also an ideal world in which OP could apply, the dogs would go home, and no one’s feelings are hurt. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re in that ideal world. In most situations where you have dog owners with a history/custom of bringing their dogs to work, they’re going to be really irked that that perk was taken away to hire a new person. Is it fair? No. Is it likely? Yes.

            7. Shawn

              Also, I think it’s pretty telling of her when she’s already throwing around ADA guidelines. I think she should keep moving. She knows the culture. If it doesn’t fit, keep looking.

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            8. MoFlo

              Yes. I’d be incredibly upset if that perk was taken away. Especially if the person knew of it before interviewing! That’s pretty rude, in my opinion.

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          2. CmdrShepard4ever

            I think it would be different if the allergy suddenly developed or if OP already worked there and the company was thinking of becoming dog friendly. But this strikes me almost like someone with a bee allergy walking onto a bee farm and requesting the bees be removed when they could visit a different farm without bees. I think partially it is that not many companies are dog friendly I would say a vast majority are not compared to the ones that are.

            I can’t think of another disability (such as vision, hearing, or mobility) that would be comparable in a way that it would require the company to take away a perk that many people previously enjoyed.

            Reply
            1. President Porpoise

              Nope, because w/ a bee farm, the ability to work with bees would be a bona fide job requirement. Working with dogs (unless we’re talking about OP getting a job a Purina or something) is not likely to be a bona fide requirement in OP’s case.

              Reply
              1. Hey Karma, Over here.

                This reminds my of and FML post. “Today, we hired a new vet assistant to wash and feed the animals. After filling out her hiring paperwork, she announced she was allergic to dogs.”

                Reply
                1. Cube Ninja

                  To be fair, if allergy meds are sufficient to control it, no big deal. If they’re not, that’s an easy rescission of an offer since there’d be no way to make accommodations. I’d wager a significant percentage veterinary offices aren’t covered by ADA as they have fewer than 15 employees.

              2. CmdrShepard4ever

                I realize that but I meant someone just visiting a bee farm for leisure. It just seems a little like putting yourself at risk when there are other options. I don’t know maybe this is the ONLY job that would hire the OP. I agree is the company can accommodate OP by putting them in a private office or no a non dog floor that would be reasonable but coming in and needing to have all dogs be taken away seems a far extreme. I am trying but having a hard time coming up with a similar example for another disability such as visual, sound, or movement that would require the removal of a perk for all other employees.

                Reply
                1. Doe-Eyed

                  A former office that I worked at had a similar situation come up. Originally, people were allowed to bring their kids in for “reasonable” amounts of time as long as they were “well-behaved”. (My quotations should give you hints on how well this was defined or enforced :P) One of the primary reasons that people would do this was when their kid was too sick to go to school or daycare but well enough to sit upright in an office.

                  Sometime after this, they hired an employee that was immunocompromised and all the kids coming to and fro and being little germ factories (bless ’em) meant this person was constantly sick and asked the owner to shut it down, or at least stop people from bringing in sick kids.

                  It caused a LOT of problems when it was banned because we had people taking whole days off to deal with kid stuff and a lot of the better performers moved on because if they were going to have to pay for daycare, they might as well make another 10-15k a year while doing it. I didn’t disagree with the decision, mind, the ripples were just much farther reaching than anyone (including the poor new employee) could imagine.

                2. fposte

                  If you don’t work there, though, it’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. The law gives employers an obligation to employees that they don’t to the general public, and I think that’s fair, because making a living is necessary in a way that strolling around a bee farm is not. So I don’t think you can extrapolate from what would happen in a non-employment situation, because it’s governed by such different rules.

                3. CmdrShepard4ever

                  You are right if OP is severely allergic to Dogs it would fall under ADA and be allowed to request reasonable accommodation. Now the hard part is defining what is reasonable, to me having a non-dog floor, or dog free section of the office for OP to work in, or allowing OP to work from home 4 out of 5 days a week, or cleaning the office more often would be reasonable but requiring them to ban dogs does not seem reasonable. Now under the law I’m afraid banning dogs might be a reasonable request. But then the OP needs to think just because they can legally ask for it, is it worth doing it and risking all the other employees hating them? Again this is all based on the allergy being severe enough and actually qualifying for ADA.

            2. Dragoning

              Sure there are. What if one of the perks was some kind of video game in the public areas or flashing lights that gave an employee seizures? I’m not saying it’s common, but there are definitely other disabilities that “perks” could literally kill someone.

              Reply
              1. Dragoning

                Or, if the perk is to have the office smell “nice” to some people, and trigger someone’s asthma or, again seizures.

                They aren’t as common as “dog-friendly” but still.

                Reply
                1. Jesca

                  Yes. Employers should carefully consider perks before implementing them. Unfortunately it doesn’t help the OP here.

                  Also, if this were a situation where, lets says, every is bringing in emotional support dogs, then it would be much easier to broach this subject with the employer. The employer and reasonable employees will know they need to accept the new employee’s allergies and whatever new conditions exist to accommodate her. But that is not the case here. It is a perk, and the OP has really no way to go with it except turn down a job because of a disability (YIKES!).

                2. Observer

                  And the reality is that many offices don’t go fragrance free – it’s a lot harder than people often realize.

                  This is probably far more common than the dog issue, simply because the use of fragrance at work it sooooo much more common than having pets at work. Does anyone know of any cases around this?

                3. Lehigh

                  Observer,

                  It’s not a legal case, but I had a coworker who was allergic to fragrances. She was there long before I was. All of us avoided wearing scented lotions, etc. but there were still occasions when someone thought they were fine but wore something or bathed in something that ended up triggering her. And, although we had a sign on the door, customers still came in with heavy perfume on. We tried to protect her from dealing with them, but she sometimes had to use her nebulizer at work and sounded wretched for the rest of the day.

                  Unfortunately if you have the public coming through at all I think it’s somewhat inevitable.

          3. Seriously?

            I think it isn’t so much that most people think the OP is wrong to want the accommodation, they are just pointing out potential consequences. It isn’t fair and the situation sucks, but we don’t live in an ideal world and a lot of people are irrational about their pets. If the OP wants to pursue this, she should be prepared for potentially angry coworkers, even if that anger is not justified. It is possible to be in the right but miserable.

            Reply
            1. AMPG

              As others have pointed out, though, for some of these employees having the office lose its dog-friendly status might mean they had to hire dog-walkers or doggy daycares. It’s not irrational to be upset about losing a perk that costs you money.

              Reply
              1. anonny

                Especially a perk that may be the reason you took the job vs a different one. If I worked in a dog friendly office and it was suddenly taken away, I’d probably be looking at my options. My skills are in-demand, and I’m at a point in my career where I’m calling more of the shots. I have no desire to work for a company that brings you in with perks then takes them away (regardless of why they’re taken away). A person with allergies so severe that they qualify as disabled intentionally coming to work at a dog-friendly office knowing that their employment would change the benefits for the other employees wouldn’t be someone I’d want to work with, either. I’d just go do what I do somewhere else.

                Reply
                1. SJPxo

                  anonny Got to 100% agree with you here. I’d find it pretty frustrating to work for or with that person that’s for sure! Plus the company too if it was a perk and a pretty big perk at that then I’d not want to work there anymore either..

                2. Falling Diphthong

                  I have no desire to work for a company that brings you in with perks then takes them away (regardless of why they’re taken away).

                  This. This is going to cost them people. People will be mad at the perk-killer, no matter how carefully they try to explain that accommodating them was worth undoing this relatively rare perk. I just don’t see this going well for the perk-killer, regardless of how I feel about a given perk.

                3. Name Required

                  Amazon is a company known for bringing your dog to work as a perk. The commute from where I live into Seattle is pure hell; however, I have thought about whether or not it would be worth it if I could bring my dog with me. The higher pay and other benefits wouldn’t be enough to lure me away from where I currently am, but the dog benefit could potentially tip it over the edge for me.
                  If that perk were to be taken away, it would negate the whole purpose of moving jobs for me.

                  I get that people have allergies, but it’s really unfair to lay this all on the feet of those who want to work for a company that gives this perk and say that are irrational about their pets or selfish or don’t care about if someone can breathe. I think it’s kind of selfish to knowingly go into employment with a known and very popular perk with the expectation that the company is going to eliminate a perk that works for thousands of others all because 1 person wants to work there.
                  The reality is, whether you like it or not, the COMPANY set this as a perk. If you have an issue with it, don’t blame it on the employees that would be upset that the perk that might have been the tipping point for them to take on a commute – accept it as part of the company culture and determine *based on the company culture* if it’s right for you. And if you do work to have that perk eliminated, don’t be surprised when you become hated person #1.

                4. A.

                  Right! Someone may even have accepted a lower paying job based on perks. I know people who will stay in a lower paying position because of generous work from home policies. Take that perk away and you are going to have angry people. And the one who can move on, probably will move on. I don’t understand why someone would knowingly want to work in that environment. I’m sure it would not be pleasant for the OP if she was viewed as the reason the perk was taken away.

                5. Name Required

                  A – I purposely took a lower paying job (but with great benefits) specifically so I could be closer to home AND my dog. With my experience and skills, I am able to command significantly higher pay; however, I am able to take my dog (german shepherd) on a morning run plus head home at lunch to take him on a walk and provide company. So if I took a job that promised I could take my dog to work with me plus bring home higher pay, the life sucking commute into Seattle might really be worth it. But if it were to go away…I’ll just say that I wouldn’t be working there much longer.

                6. Lexi Lynn

                  And the OP could be setting herself for failure. Even if the OP is the best employee ever, I don’t think that would make up for top performers Rob, Sansa, Bran, Rikkon quitting because the perk was removed .

                7. Name Required

                  I think this is actually a rather interesting conversation. Simply because it’s about dogs as a perk, many people don’t take it seriously as a very real perk. This OP, if they found out that this company they work for that is such a great fit for them and they for it wouldn’t think twice about turning down the opportunity if the pay were lower than they expected (wouldn’t be such a great fit now, would it) or if the benefits were pretty awful thus costing them more money out of pocket and having the effect of lowering the value of their salary. But to them, this dog perk is fully negotiable regardless of the affect it would have on many other people. And they haven’t stopped to think about how deeply this really is part of the company culture.

                  And company culture is huge. I had a job with a company that won yearly awards for being one of the top 10 employers to work for based on how they treated their employees and the perks/benefits they offered. I loved working there. As did many others. New leadership was brought in and the culture changed drastically. Many of the perks disappeared and they haven’t been a top employer in a few years. The exodus of long-term employees was something phenomenal to see.

                8. Shawn

                  Exactly. Someone who goes in with this knowledge wouldn’t be someone I would want to work for either, especially knowing that she’s considering NOT bringing this up until after a potential offer is made.

                9. Oranges

                  ” A person with allergies so severe that they qualify as disabled intentionally coming to work at a dog-friendly office knowing that their employment would change the benefits for the other employees wouldn’t be someone I’d want to work with, either. ”

                  I think it depends upon the amount of job openings/opportunities in the area. I would be of your mind if my job suddenly took away my unlimited PTO because the new hire was (insert weird reason here). But I’m in a metro area. If I was in a target poor environment for jobs then I’d be more sympathetic. Still annoyed because I’m human but it would feel different to me.

                10. anonny

                  @oranges (we’re nested too deep to nest new comments under yours!)

                  percentage wise, VERY few companies in the US allow pets in the workplace. most of these seem to be web, tech, design companies that are in major cities. Amazon, Etsy, Glassdoor, etc. I REALLY don’t think this is going to be a pervasive issue in Smalltown, USA where an accountant can’t get an accounting job because all the accounting firms are dog-friendly and it severely limits their job options. If you’re in a city with a few dog-friendly companies, chances are there are a LOT of no-dog offices you can work for instead. The dog-friendly ones are so few and far between, I just don’t think the argument makes sense that this perk limits people’s job options.

                11. Oranges

                  @annony
                  Yes, based upon real life it probably is. I’m saying that the above quote was a bit… I can’t find the word, abrasive?/narrow?/I don’t know… to me personally. My skills are sought after and I live in a metro area so it’s a target rich environs and I’d be of the same mind as you normally.

                  However I also love to think of context where I could see a reversal of my opinion. I love teasing out the boundaries of social rules, what they should be, and what they are. And the really fun part? Everyone has different ideas of the above.

                12. ladyclaire

                  I work in a dog-friendly office. We have employees here who took the job because of that (on any given day we have about 5 dogs hanging out in the office). If we hired someone with an allergy to dogs, and took away that perk, we’d probably end up losing 3 or 4 of our best employees. They’ve got skills that are highly in demand, so it’d be super easy for them to just find another job.

          4. Temperance

            Honestly, I would be pretty annoyed if I had to give up such a huge perk. Doggy day care is really expensive, costing hundreds of dollars per month.

            I don’t think it’s an issue of people assuming that their pet is “more important than someone’s else’s ability to breathe”, but losing a beloved perk and dealing with a lot of inconvenience as a result.

            Reply
            1. Kittymommy

              Yep. I have some friends who work in an office that’s dog friendly and has been that way for years. If it suddenly went to no pets due to a recent hire, they’d quit. In an instant.
              It really, really sounds like this is not a good fit for this person.

              Reply
              1. anonny

                It’s like when a company stops allowing telecommuting or starts requiring people to wear suits, or takes away flexible working hours and starts requiring everyone to work from 8-5 and clock out for breaks. If it’s not what you signed up for, and your skills are in demand and there are other jobs out there for you, you’d just leave and go somewhere else. I wouldn’t think twice about it if I worked for a dog friendly office and they took away the perk.

                Reply
                1. Hey Nonnie

                  And there’s certainly more to it than just “my dog is more important that your breathing.” A lot of people look for dog-friendly jobs specifically so they don’t have to spend loads of money on walkers/daycare. They may not have loads of money available in their budget for this. If one of the main reasons I accepted a job was taken away, I’d be looking to move on too. Especially since something like this functions as the equivalent of cash compensation — it’s something the workplace provides to me for free, instead of having to pay out some of my salary for it. A sudden change to the tune of hundreds per month is likely to hit people pretty hard.

              2. I Love Thrawn

                Sometimes you just have to move to another potential job that is more suitable. Why should current employees have to lose out on the perk that attracted them to THAT job, in favor of a new someone else’s desire to work there? I’m not really in favor of dog-friendly offices myself, but I am on the side of those who would lose something meaningful to them.

                Reply
            2. I'mACatPerson

              I swear I don’t mean to be a smart ass…. but whatever happened to dogs chillin’ on their own during the work day? I can certainly see the point of boarding a dog while you’re on an extended trip, but I can’t follow the logic “bring dog to work” or “doggy daycare” being the only alternatives with no middle ground in there.

              Ok now I’m REALLY going to sound bad… In MY day, we left the dog home alone for like 8 hours at a time without it being an issue. I get that it can be good for dogs to have the extra activity/stimulation during the day, but it starts to sound like a “want” being mistaken for a “need” at a certain point.

              Reply
              1. paul

                Right there with you.

                And if you were silly enough to get a working breed while living in an apartment in the city…that’s on you.

                Reply
                1. rldk

                  But as a counterpoint, if you were moving from a house to a yard to a city apartment and already had a dog, you would know that this would require a shift, and one of the options you might seek would be a job with a dog-friendly office, as opposed to paying for daycare/dogwalker. It’s a responsible choice if you are trying to provide a healthy lifestyle for a dog with energy, especially one you’re already caring for.

              2. Doe-Eyed

                Tactfully speaking, people have a poor history of correctly meeting the needs of their pets, and they basically assume if they aren’t mauling kids in the neighborhood or destroying entire walls that they’re happy and all is dandy.

                I did animal rescue, and the number of people who would cheerfully assure me they’d “always” done something a particular way even when I specifically identified neurotic behaviors it was causing was quite troubling.

                Some dogs do well being rugs 8 hours a day alone and some dogs don’t. That doesn’t change the fact that at the end of the day we’re taking pack animals and making them spend large portions of their day alone. Heck, one of the most common complaints about working from home _while connected to the internet and with cell phones_ is that people feel lonely.

                Reply
                1. I'mACatPerson

                  Those are all very valid points. (And good on you for doing animal rescue… I’ve heard the horror stories from friends who’ve worked or volunteered and I can see how it’d quickly make you lose faith in humanity.)

                  I am not totally insensitive to pets’ needs and I get that the “in my day” argument has its own problems for sure (we are only talking about the 80s here, fwiw). I guess I still take issue with this “if my employer doesn’t allow me to bring my dog to work, I have to pay hundreds of dollars in doggie daycare” dichotomy. Some people hire a dog walker, others sacrifice their lunch breaks to go home and be with their dog for a while, get a second dog, etc… There are alternatives.

                  I actually think the points you made about adequately meeting a dog’s needs could be an argument *for* the ability to care for a dog (which, for the record, I believe should be a lifetime commitment except in the rarest of circumstances) not being dependent on your employer.

              3. fposte

                A few things happened: animal welfare became more important, smaller dogs (and along with that, smaller bladders) became increasingly popular, apartments began to get considered as well as houses, houses were more often empty of people during the day as all the adults were in the workforce, and people started to realize that some dogs weren’t chillin’ but barkin’ all day.

                We’re also talking about transitioning a dog that’s used to company and stimulation all day. Even if you do train him to stay home happily, it’s likely that won’t be immediate.

                Reply
              4. Delphine

                In your day you left your dog alone for 8 hours at a time. That may have worked for your dog, but it’s very likely there were many other dogs it wouldn’t work for. If people are being more considerate of the animals they share their lives with, that’s a positive, not a negative.

                Reply
              5. Ali G

                On the one hand you are right in that society has just become a lot more accommodating to dogs in general – so leaving the dog at home isn’t inherently “bad.” But dog owners have become way more involved in their dog’s daily lives (somewhat driven by people like me who choose pets over kids). So if people see it as a perk to have their dog with them all day, and you take that away, it causes problems. Or if they did ban dogs in the office, and I have a dog that can’t deal with being alone all day/and or with no exercise, it’s cause a problem for me too. For example, my dog has anxiety and if he doesn’t get his needed exercise during the day, he’s more likely to act out. So if I had to start suddenly leaving my dog home all day, I would have to pay dog walkers or occasional day care.

                Reply
              6. Alldogsarepuppies

                It could be a job where you work more than 8 hours or have a long commute. Dogs need to be walked – at least so they can go to the bathroom, and many dogs thrive more with attention or playmates. If your dog needs to be feeded on a schedule (often vet required) it can be more certain to do that if a person is doing it than a machine. Dogs get sepration anxiety and can be destructive when left home alone – bad for dog and property. There are tons of valid reasons to want the dog not to be left alone/crated for over 8 hours 5 days a week – and finding a job that lets you bring the dog with you is a great way to do that.

                Reply
                1. peachie

                  This is what I was going to say–even though I haven’t been in roles that expected super long hours, I’ve regularly had “work days” (i.e., time from leaving the house to getting back) that were 12+ hours. Long commutes, projects that ran over, and even just going to a happy hour or dinner with a friend after work can add up to way more than 8 hours. I don’t have a dog, but I’d definitely hire a dog walker in that scenario, and that can get expensive!

              7. Observer

                That really is not relevant here. I’m not a dog person. I don’t mind them, but I would NOT want to work in an office with people bringing in their dogs on a daily basis. But, that’s not relevant. People have been given this perk, and taking that away is an issue for them, regardless of what you think of that perk.

                You don’t care about that perk, and that’s fine. Neither would I. That doesn’t mean that other people don’t have a right to want to keep it.

                Reply
              8. epi

                Totally agree. Some dogs, depending on their age or health, may need to go out more frequently than that but it’s definitely not universal. And it still doesn’t mean that the only option is to be with the dog all day as opposed to running back at lunch or getting a neighbor or a dog walker to look in.

                My parents have worked from home for many years, during which time they had various dogs. Except when the dogs were very young, very old, or temporarily ill/injured, they were unaffected by my parents’ being home. They were just taking an 8-hour nap anyway.

                Reply
                1. Cercis

                  I think the increase in traffic needs to be considered. Once upon a time, a person could commute across Austin in less than half an hour. Now, it’s an hour minimum. There is no “running back at lunch” and you’re definitely away from home more than 8 hours (I mean, if you work an 8 hour day, you’re usually required to take at least a half hour lunch, so there’s 8.5 hours without considering commute). For 7 years, my work day (with commute) was 11-12 hours long and I always lived and worked within the same city (two separate cities). I think an hour commute is more and more the norm these days because infrastructure hasn’t kept up with population growth.

              9. Aleta

                Well, if I had a dog, and just left them at home without also paying for a walker ($$$), they’d be by themselves for 10-12 hours a day. Maybe some dogs would be okay holding their pee that long, but that’s not something I’d ever go in expecting a dog to be able to do.

                Reply
              10. Lisa L

                My dog always stayed home until she had a stroke and was tenporarily paralyzed. It’s a one-off, and I never took her to work before that, but I’m grateful I was able to. Sometimes things just happen.

                Reply
              11. k

                Some dogs have a high need for attention or activity, or separation anxiety, which are not things you would know when you first pick out the dog (and can develop over time). If my dog were left alone all day every day, there would be barking and whining that my neighbors wouldn’t be thrilled about, not to mention my belongings being chewed up. That takes daycare/walkers from want to need.

                Reply
                1. Emi.

                  Surely a dog with a high need for attention or activity doesn’t belong in the workplace?

                2. Miles

                  Not necessarily. Someone I used to work with brings her dog to work in part because he doesn’t deal well with being left by himself for long periods of time. He doesn’t need lots of attention, though. He needed a walk at mid day but otherwise would happily curl up in a bed in the corner. He just needed people around, not actual attention.

                3. RaccoonLady

                  Yes, this! My dog is a total sweetie when she’s around people, is very good at being well behaved, quiet, mostly just snoozes.
                  When I’m gone for more than 4 hours she turns into destructo-girl and if I haven’t cleaned up the part of the apartment she’s allowed to be alone in well I will come home to some destroyed belonging!
                  I’m currently in vet school, so can run home and check on her usually every 4 hours, and hopefully will be able to take her in to work with me when I graduate, but if I worked a regular office job she’d definitely need to go into daycare or have someone come stay with her.

              12. ValkyrAmy

                I wish I knew I was getting into an environment where a coworker brought a dog to work most days. I would’ve rethought the whole job. I am mildly (very, very mildly) allergic, but more than that, I am THAT MONSTER that does not like dogs. (I was attacked as a child and although I no longer have a strong fear response to most dogs, I’ve never been able to bring myself to like them.)

                I’m totally anti-pet and anti-child in the work place (although I do occasionally want to bring in my six year old and a couple cats, just to see what happens).

                Reply
                1. OrganizedHRChaos

                  “I wish I knew I was getting into an environment where a coworker brought a dog to work most days.”

                  I think it might be a little different here. The OP has stated that she knows the environment is dog-friendly and is already spouting ADA before a face to face, yet she knows she is allergic. If she has to jab herself with an Epi-pen every time some one with dog hair on their clothes walks by, she should move along and not start a new job as public enemy number one.

                  You sound like you were not aware that the coworker did this and had to deal with it after the fact but she is knowingly going to interview and deceive (imo) the new employer and only disclose her allergy to dogs in a dog-friendly work place after she has received an offer. That’s selfish on a lot of levels because she thinks she is “the thing” that the company needs when in all honesty, she is expendable just like the dogs she wants to get rid of. She should move on.

              13. Naptime Enthusiast

                Anecdotally, if I were solely responsible for a dog, I would not be able to have a dog. My workday + commute is 10-11 hours per day and I can’t get home to let poor Snuffles out in between. But luckily my fiance’s work schedule is not a typical M-F so he’s home most days and on the 1-2 days per week neither of us are home, Snuffles lays on the couch. If it were an every day thing, Snuffles would be a very lonely pup with separation anxiety or bad behaviors, as others have already described.

                I will likely never work in a dog-friendly office, but even if I did Snuffles would probably stay home because he would otherwise run from cube to cube searching for affection and no work would get done. He’s the posterpup for “no dogs in the office”.

                Reply
              14. Calpurrnia

                I lived in an apartment building that was pet-friendly, and it was literally never a problem until someone moved in below me and did exactly what you describe with her dog. She went to work, and within 10 minutes the dog was howling. And howling. And howling. This dog would howl the entire time its owner was gone, from 7am to 7pm (I live in a metro area known for terrible traffic and long commutes). I had been regularly teleworking twice a week for 6 months at this point, and this neighbor (who has no idea where I work or what I do) basically took that perk away from me because she thought “my dog will be fine chilling at home all day”.

                So, y’know, it’s great that you were lucky enough to have a very chill dog with no physical or mental issues, or at least lived in a house where the dog’s issues wouldn’t disturb others. That’s really awesome for you. But that option isn’t, and never has been, a good choice for everybody, particularly those with less privilege than you.

                Reply
              15. ejodee

                That was my day too. My childhood dog was also ‘fine’. Until she wasn’t. She developed kidney disease. She suffered, and we carry the shame and regret of learning a very hard lesson too late.

                My parents likely caved in to their children’s pleading for a dog.
                My working mom had no role models to learn from; most other women in our family were homemakers. So yes, in my day we kept the dog in the house, holding her water like the good girl she was, for days on end.

                As an adult I have never had a dog under those circumstances: would never force a dog to stay alone and hold it all day. When you know better, you do better.

                Reply
              16. Felicia

                My parents’ dog chills on his own for 8 hours a day every work day and it’s fine. I didn’t realize there were people who put their dog in doggy daycare/hired a dog walker or whatever every work day. I think both workplaces where you can bring your dog, and putting your dog in doggy daycare every workday aren’t that common, at least not in my experience.

                Reply
                1. mrs__peel

                  Most people I know who use dog daycare only do it 1-2 days a week, as a change of pace for their dogs. The rest of the week, they’re just chilling out at home by themselves.

              17. Yorick

                I’m totally with you. It’s pretty rare that a dog actually cannot be alone during the work day.

                Reply
              18. nonymous

                When we lived in a smaller city, it was perfectly reasonable for me to take my lunch hour and go home to let our senior dogs pee. If one has larger youngish dogs (think a lab mix under 12), 8 or 9 hours alone isn’t impossible.

                However, where we are now, my husband has an hour commute in each direction. He has customers in all time zones. So if it’s an especially busy day, he’s gone for 12 hrs. This would not be an appropriate living situation for any dog, let alone the <35lb breeds that LL allow. Back when I was a kid in the 80s, I agree that doggie daycare wasn't the thing it is now. But in my neighborhood "leaving the dog alone all day" really meant that someone came home ~3P, even if that was just a latch-key kid. And like D0e-Eyed mentions, I suspect we were more accepting of neurotic/unneighborly behaviors such as pacing, extended barking, digging.

                My sister who had a series of golden retrievers, would let them roam back in the 90s. She lived in Seattle, about 2 miles due east of the downtown library. There were a few friendly dogs in the neighborhood who had a regular route where they got treats and if the weather was warm enough, a quick dip in Lake WA.

                Reply
              19. MissingArizona

                My dog is 90lbs of smelly mutt, he will happily sleep the day away and be well exercised with a 45min walk… However, he’s getting on in years, and I cannot just walk out the door and leave him for 9 hours. He can’t go to doggy daycare, he’s too big for other people to walk him, and my neighbors aren’t dog people. One specific part of my job search, is proximity to my house, just so I can check on him at lunch. He isn’t “just a dog”, he is a living entity, and he deserves to be cared for, just like other living entities.

                Reply
              20. bookbot

                Honestly, this is why I have to check myself out of these conversations becuase of my own bias. I had dogs growing up, but they were outside dogs. They required minimum tending to–food once a day, flea/tick/heartworm medicines as seasonally required, and the annual vet visit. I can’t imagine having a pet any other way, and it’s difficult for me to relate to people who really do treat their pets as children. I can’t stop rolling my eyes long enough to empathize, so it’s better to just acknowledge my bias and let the rest argue it out.

                Reply
              21. Media Monkey

                I agree. Dog friendly offices are very rare in the UK that i know of. People might get a walker to come in and take their dog out at lunchtime/ for a pee break, but doggy daycare does not seem to be as much of a thing (I could be wrong here). We have accepted that since we are out of the home for most of the day since we both work, we can’t have a dog at the moment. When we were kids we had dogs and they were left at home on their own for the whole working day.

                Reply
                1. Blue Eagle

                  This is the whole point. Dog-friendly offices are rare and are an amazing perk for those people who need them.

                  If this was the ONLY job the LW could get I might be more sympathetic, but for the people who want to keep their dogs at their job, this may be the ONLY job that they can get.

              22. BananaPants

                Our dog is home alone while we’re at work and the kids are at school. She’s not a high energy dog (never has been) and now that she’s a senior she spends most of the day napping in the sun. I expect a lot of AAM dog owners will view this is some sort of horrible abuse, but it isn’t.

                IMO, a high energy/very active dog probably shouldn’t be in the office to begin with. If the dog is chilling out and napping in their owner’s office/cube, then they can do exactly the same thing at home, perhaps with a dog walker coming at midday if the owner’s work day is very long.

                Reply
            3. LilyP

              I can empathize with people feeling annoyed or disappointed, but if they choose to act on those feelings in a negative way (giving the new person the cold-shoulder, quitting in a huff, complaining to management) then they are prioritizing their own convenience over a disabled person’s career opportunities or potentially even their livelihood. If having a dog and taking it to work every day (which are choices you make, unlike having severe allergies) are so important to you then YOU get to do all the extra work and sacrifice of self-selecting out of a job or finding a new job or only taking jobs where you can work from home full-time or whatever.

              Reply
              1. nonny

                And in return, does the OP get to do all the work of researching/paying for alternate care options for dogs that employees have been counting on and budgeting for bringing to work for free?

                Reply
                1. Jadelyn

                  @VintageLydia, neither are they responsible for her decision to voluntarily seek employment in an environment that she can’t actually tolerate. If responsibility for the situation is what we’re looking at here, it can be framed either way.

              2. Fdesigner

                that makes no sense. These people already chose a place of employment in which they can work with the dog. Perhaps they self selected themselves out of jobs without this perk

                Reply
              3. Maggie

                “… YOU get to do all the extra work and sacrifice of self-selecting out of a job or finding a new job …”

                They DID THAT ALREADY!

                Reply
                1. Lunita

                  But of course a person with severe enough allergies wouldn’t be responsible; the law is there precisely to help people with disabilities receive the same amount of choice in employment that others have. While I understand that people might be upset at losing a perk, their dogs don’t trump someone need to be accommodated. Sometimes just finding another job isn’t that easy.

          5. Observer

            We know that there are people that think that their pet is more important than someone’s right to breath. But for most people that wouldn’t be what they were thinking in this kind of situation. They are far more likely to think that their pet which was a reason they took the job is more important than the other person’s right to a job in this company.

            Reply
          6. LBK

            I mean, just generally I think it’s gross that people would value having a pet at the office over someone else’s ability to earn a living. Saying “just go work somewhere else” is awfully flippant about the challenge of finding a job, especially one where all other elements (pay, benefits, location, etc) would be comparable, just without dogs being in the office.

            If you just looooove eating peanuts and someone else gets hired who’s allergic, your desire for peanuts does not override that person’s desire to pay your rent. I understand it’s more complicated when there’s revocation of a perk involved and potentially very high expenses to be incurred by people who suddenly have to put their dog in daycare, but fundamentally I don’t think anything overrides someone’s right to have an income.

            I’m also pretty staunchly of the belief that if you can’t afford a backup plan when circumstances change for your pet, you shouldn’t get one in the first place (eg if you rely on working at a dog-friendly office because you can’t afford doggy daycare). Although I remember that didn’t go over especially well last time this topic came up.

            Reply
            1. Lisa L

              LBK I think that’s a fair assessment, but sometimes people don’t choose to have pets and they can’t control the circumstances. I acquired my brother’s dog when he and his wife were killed by a drunk driver. I didn’t have the heart to give her away when I knew their children loved her and would still want to see her. The kids already went through enough heartache. I did what I thought was right. At the time I was financially stable and owned a home where the dog would be comfortable. But sometimes life just happens.

              Reply
              1. LBK

                Oh, I definitely understand that there’s extenuating circumstances (and I’m very sorry to hear about yours). I’m talking about people who intentionally take on pets, especially someone who would take on a pet with their sole plan for care being working in a dog-friendly office, which is a pretty unreliable plan.

                Speaking as someone who intentionally took on a pet when I really shouldn’t have, I just got lucky there was never an emergency situation that I wouldn’t have been able to afford (and that I had family who probably could/would have covered me if a situation did arise). It was irresponsible of me at the time and I don’t like it when other people make the same mistake – it’s not fair to the pet.

                Reply
                1. Lisa L

                  LBK, I see what you mean now. I don’t think I read your post correctly. You are absolutely right, there are definitely people who have pets but shouldn’t have them. I have a friend who purchased a large pure bred and it stays inside her tiny apartment all day while she’s at work. No walks, no socializing, nothing. She doesn’t want to pay for a dog walker, yet her hair and nails are always down and she complains when it destroys her things or has accidents on the carpet. Pets are a big responsibility. Some people just should not have them. It’s really not fair to the animal.

                2. LBK

                  Yeah, exactly – it’s more about people who willingly take on the responsibility without the means. I totally understand there are some cases where a pet is bestowed on you somehow and you do what you can. My family’s first cat used to be the neighbor’s cat but she was always over at our house so my parents started putting food out for her. When the neighbors moved, they left her on our doorstep.

              2. A.

                Yes I inherited two dogs when my mom passed away. They are alot of work but I could never imagine separating them or giving them away. My mom was very attached to them.

                Reply
            2. Yorick

              I agree. Maybe I picked a job because it allowed me to bring my dog and now that it doesn’t I’d look for a new job, but I wouldn’t have any bad feelings about the person who was allergic. I certainly wouldn’t think “I wouldn’t want to work with the sort of person who takes a perk away from everyone.”

              Reply
              1. LBK

                Right. I’ve had to tailor my housing decisions around having a cat and it hasn’t always been easy but that’s the choice I made when I got her. I don’t begrudge landlords who don’t allow pets – it was my decision to have one.

                Reply
                1. A.

                  Exactly. I can’t imagine moving in with a roommate who has a cat. Not disclosing I’m allergic. Signing a lease. Then saying I’m allergic. You have to give your cat away. Even if the apartment was in a desirable location with low rent etc etc.

                2. LBK

                  Well, wait, I don’t think that’s comparable because in the case of a dog-friendly office the people don’t have to get rid of their animals entirely. They just can’t bring them to work anymore.

                3. A.

                  Yes it is not exactly comparable. But something just feels off about knowingly entering an environment with dogs, not disclosing an allergy, then demanding a change. Everyone is trying to look for a comparison on this board but noone has found something that is an exact match to this situation.

                4. A.

                  Yorick – ok. I tried. The comparison did not work. Doesn’t change the fact that the OP will piss people off if she waits until after she starts work to disclose her allergy.

                5. Luna

                  @A- I have actually had a roommate who tried to do that to me. It’s not exactly the same situation as this but I do agree that the mentality of a person who would do that is similar. And both situations are similar in that no matter what, there is no possible way for it to end well for everyone involved.

                6. OrganizedHRChaos

                  No, I do think its a little comparable. The OP is purposely seeking council regarding knowing its a dog friendly work place and she is allergic to dogs but wonting to not disclose it for fear she wont get a job offer. Knowing that the company may have to rescind this perk because of her selfishness doesn’t seem to matter to her.

                  Besides, its important for people to think and use good judgement before they perform an action and by the OP not considering all ramifications of her actions, she isn’t using good judgement.

            3. Jadelyn

              If saying “just go work somewhere else” is flippant when said to the dog-allergic person, it’s just as flippant to say that to the people who may well have given up other opportunities elsewhere in order to work in a dog-friendly environment because that’s important to their lifestyle needs.

              Reply
              1. tusky

                I would agree that those are both flippant statements. But I think it’s fair to ask people to consider prioritizing medical needs over their desires to bring a pet to work. They are both real and important, but generally speaking medical needs are not a choice. Workplace protections/accommodations for people with disabilities are important precisely because people in this group are more likely to experience employment discrimination, and making accommodations is often viewed as a burden (on the employer/other employees). What if the perk in question were a parking spot close to the office building, and the potential new employee had mobility limitations requiring an accessible parking spot that would limit this perk for other employees (not a perfect example, but hopefully illustrative)?

                Reply
          7. JS

            I don’t think it’s unreasonable not to hire someone because hiring them would change the structure of your work environment. It’s different than building ADA accessible ramps, adding in a secure room for breast pumping, or providing someone with a different schedule than others based on docs appointments or needing to work from home due to fatigue.

            OP would literally be taking away an established, well used perk to accommodate herself. Sure it’s legal but I wouldnt fault anyone else for being resentful because of it. Especially if this is a small company and not very many non-dog clear spaces. I

            I love my dog like my own child and therefore more than most people, so while I would want my job to accomodate OP to work from home or in a remote office, or pay for allergy shots, I have no shame in being resentful if the solution was “no more dogs”.

            Reply
          8. Fdesigner

            But she knows this is a perk offered beforehand… she is not a long term employee who was there when dogs were introduced

            Reply
          9. Truth-teller

            I’m chiming in late here. I’m a regular commentator and know this comment won’t go over well, but I think OP needs to hear it.

            My dog is part of my family. For that reason I only looked at dog-friendly workplaces when picking my job. If a new employee waltzed in and ended this perk, that new person will not be my friend. I will do everything possible to sabotage that person.

            If you’re that allergic don’t work for a dog-friendly company.

            Like I say, this comment won’t go over well. But forewarned is forearmed.

            Reply
          10. Lara

            ” their pet is more important than someone else ability to breathe”

            But this is setting up a really combative attitude from the get go. Rather than immediately take it to the level OP’s potential co-workers wanting her to suffocate and die so they can have their pooches about, can it not be seen as a cultural fit issue?

            The reality is, she can go into this dog friendly office, and change the policy. It would be far better if she did that ahead of time so the office can prepare, rather than throwing them an ADA backed Gotcha!

            But people are going to feel some kind of way about it. If they are adult and decent they won’t express it or be unpleasant but it’s not the best way to start a new job.

            Reply
          11. jo

            It’s not that someone would resist making their office dog-free because they think hanging out with their pet is more important that a coworker breathing. It’s that they might be upset that they now have to to hire dog walkers or other services to care for their dog, after they took a job that would let them avoid that scenario. They’re responding to the impact on them, not passing judgment on the person who is indirectly causing it.

            A dog-friendly office is giving dog owners a benefit that has monetary value. I know it’s not the same thing, but the effect of losing it would be similar to your workplace taking away an in-house childcare facility that has always been there, or turning an onsite gym into a conference space, or closing the onsite cafeteria. Now you have to come up with expensive/inconvenient alternatives.

            People get to be upset if a valuable, helpful benefit is suddenly taken away. That doesn’t mean people who lose this particular benefit must not understand the importance of breathing for humans, it just means they are having a reaction to their lives being impacted in a significant and wholly unexpected way.

            I can’t imagine the childcare/gym/cafeteria examples having anything to do with a person’s disability or medical condition, and that’s the difference here with the dog-friendly environment. The reason for the lost benefit is entirely different in nature. But the effect on people is comparable, and they get to have feelings about it.

            Reply
          12. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            I am a person with severe, allergies, who used to be extremely allergic to both cats & dogs. I spent so many years not being able to breathe through my nose that I have almost no childhood memories of smells. I’ve been to the ER for life threatening allergy related asthma attacks more times than some people I know have been to the doctor, period.
            I think this LW is farking insane, and what I find super gross is their selfish, entitled attitude, that this ENTIRE OFFICE should change their dog policy and sanitize the office, just for this LW, who is apparently god’s gift and so important that she can’t get a job elsewhere, but must force this office to bow to her whims simply because she wants to work there. Just effing NO.

            Reply
      2. Hills to Die on

        I uderstand wanting the job because…it’s a job and we all (on this blog anyway) need one. I also think it would be very selfish of the OP to take the job and then potentially be the reason nobody can bring their dogs in. It’s more than just not a good fit for your needs and possibly being perceived negatively by your coworkers. It’s rude because you know you couldl be robbing every other person in the office who already works there of this perk that they surely really enjoy. Just look somewhere else if you can’t telecommute full time.

        Reply
        1. Luna

          I completely agree, if OP’s allergies rise to the level of needing to ask the company to ban dogs, then this is not the right job for her.

          It’s not only her coworkers who bring dogs who would be upset, but the managers who have to deal with unhappy employees- especially since it seems like the company is being open about the fact that they allow dogs. I can’t see how OP would have a future at this company.

          Reply
          1. Salamander

            + 1. This is likely to be a very uncomfortable working environment if the OP is hired, and if it were me, I’d self-select out if other options were available.

            Reply
        2. The Other Dawn

          I feel like this is an opportunity for the OP to self-select out of the hiring process. I personally wouldn’t want to be the person that causes all my new co-workers to lose a big perk, and if I were highly allergic to dogs I wouldn’t want to suffer the effects everyday.

          Reply
          1. Rainy

            Also, the company could not “sanitize” the workplace to the point that it would be reliably safe for the OP if there have been dogs in it day-in and day-out for years, short of ripping out and replacing the carpet and ceiling tiles (if it’s a drop ceiling) and disinfecting and repainting the walls, changing out all furniture and decor, and requiring that employees submit all personal effects for disinfection. Not to mention that office sweaters/throws would have to be disposed of and new ones purchased, and that most of OP’s new coworkers’ clothing would be dangerous to OP (brushing against someone in the hallway could transfer dander or hair).

            Reply
            1. Hey Nonnie

              Well, there’s a risk of brushing against a dog-owning person just walking down the street (or commuting by bus/train, especially during rush hour when you’re typically squashed in like sardines). If someone has an allergy so severe that that’s a genuine risk, their ability to function in public at all would be impaired — it would go way beyond accommodations at a job.

              I’d guess that’s not the level of severity we’re dealing with here, since OP didn’t indicate they’d have trouble just leaving their own space.

              For most people I’d think a carpet/furniture shampoo and a very thorough dusting would be enough.

              Reply
            2. Turquoisecow

              That’s a good point. Even if everyone were to stop bringing their dogs in TODAY, there would still be enough dog hair and dander around from years of dogs being in the office, that the OP would probably still feel the effects.

              Unless dogs are only in a specific area(s) of the office (ie individual offices), in which case it might not matter if the dogs are there or not.

              In short, it doesn’t sound like a good place for OP to work unless there is a really generous WFH policy (which it sounds like there isn’t).

              Reply
              1. BeenThere

                I feel for both sides, working in an area where the perks are a huge part of accepting the job vs more pay and taxes. The relative value of perks cannot be understated let alone the dollar value to each individual, often these are things that don’t cost the company much so it’s a win-win. I don’t have a dog or work at a dog friendly office however there are other perks that would cause a riot at my current employer if they were taken away.

                Part of me thinks the most reasonable accomodation would be for OP to be 100% remote, perhaps with a presence bot. If I were the employer that’s what I would offer if it was workable. It is going to be the less costly option for both sides and seems to be that everybody wins.

                As others have pointed out about depending on the severity of the allergy dog people are still inadvertently going to trek dog hair and dog dander into the office.

                Reply
        3. Sapphire

          What if this is the only job they’ve been offered? Not everyone gets the luxury of being able to turn down offers.

          Reply
          1. Penny Lane

            What if? I can’t go work at HoneyBaked Ham and then claim I have a religious exemption from handling ham/pork products. I recognize a religious exemption is different from an allergy but the point is – you have to self-select out. The person allergic to bees shouldn’t be taking a job working for a beekeeper, the person allergic to peanuts shouldn’t be taking a job working for the circus, the person who can’t walk up a flight of stairs shouldn’t be auditioning for the Cirque du Soleil.

            Reply
            1. Sapphire

              But the difference is all those things are requirements of a job. Dogs aren’t for an office job, it’s a perk Now, hopefully this company can figure out some kind of accommodation that doesn’t involve banning dogs from the office, because we’ve seen how those people get treated (from previous letters, and in the comments). I’m just pointing out that OP may not have the luxury of self-selecting out for something that’s not an essential job requirement if, for example, they’re on unemployment and have to accept the first job offer they get (even if they’re allergic to dogs and the job is in a dog friendly office).

              Reply
              1. Observer

                The fact is, though, that you are basically asking the employer to change it’s entire compensation package. That IS a big deal.

                Essentially, assuming that the OP is otherwise qualified for the job, this would be a situation where the employee is “qualified” because they could fulfill the essential functions of the job with accommodations. That doesn’t mean that any and all accommodations are required. Reasonableness is the key here, and this just might not be a reasonable accommodation.

                Reply
                1. Yorick

                  Dogs have nothing to do with the job duties, so it is definitely a reasonable accomodation to remove dogs.

                  Although we need to remember that there are other solutions. Honestly, any dog-friendly workplace needs to have an area that is dog free so that people with allergies or who don’t like dogs don’t have to deal with them.

                2. Plague of frogs

                  “Dogs have nothing to do with the job duties, so it is definitely a reasonable accomodation to remove dogs.”

                  Vacation time has nothing to do with job duties. Would you be OK with your company cancelling all your vacation time? No?

                  Banning dogs is simply not a reasonable accommodation. It is taking away thousands of dollars of perks from existing workers. It WILL result in people leaving, and a lot of ill-feeling.

                  I enjoy dog-friendly offices, but I’m more-or-less opposed to new ones being created because I do understand that it prevents allergic people from working there. But in an existing dog-friendly office, I do NOT think that banning dogs is a reasonable accommodation.

                3. OrganizedHRChaos

                  Make being able to be around dogs in the workplace an essential job function and there you go. Being able to life 50lbs is an essential job function for most office jobs due to the need to move a box or so (with or without an accommodating coworkers help) and yet most people dont need to life anything heavier than a ream of paper.

                  Stop having it be a perk and make it a job function. If OP cant perform the essential job functions with or without an accommodation (epi-pen, nasal spray, etc.) then she is not qualified.

                  Of course, this is not something companies will do but its a way to avoid a mutiny if pets had to be removed because she knowingly put the company in such a position.

                4. Perse's Mom

                  @LBK – benefits package, then.

                  As Plague of frogs mentions, PTO has nothing to do with job duties. Health insurance, for that matter, has nothing to do with job duties. Neither does a 401k or the potential commute or the ability to work from home or what the dress code is. But those are all things people consider when they look for a job, and those are all – individually or together – things people will self-select out if they’re not up to snuff.

                5. Observer

                  Come on, that is a pretty hyperbolic description of cancelling a dog perk

                  For a lot of people it actually is not. A change like this would absolutely have a significant financial impact on someone who uses this perk a lot and has it taken away. Yes, it’s part of their compensation package.

              2. Jill

                Exactly. Not everyone is in a position to pass up a job because of something that really has nothing to do with the job itself. If the job was working in an animal shelter, then she should probably opt out. She shouldn’t have to opt out of an office job because she’s allergic to dogs.

                Reply
                1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

                  And the company shouldn’t have to cancel an office wife bonus/perk/compensation because of one employee who could potentially get a job elsewhere.

              3. E.

                Yeah, that’s more like saying, if you’re allergic dogs, you shouldn’t apply to work at a doggy day care.

                Reply
            2. Ann Perkins

              The main difference between those example jobs is that this job and duties itself don’t seem to have to do with dogs, it’s just a perk of the office. It’s not the same as somebody with a dog allergy trying to work at a veterinarian office.

              Reply
            3. fposte

              Well, you don’t have to self-select out, and the employers’ considerations and handling for each of these would be different because of the difference in the laws, though all of them would likely be situations where a reasonable accommodation couldn’t be made.

              However, as Sapphire notes, you’re talking about BFOQ and essential job qualities, and they would only apply here if the workplace was a groomer, vet, or kennel. If there’s an insurance company where people love the onsite hives, they’re going to have a tough time convincing a judge that onsite hives are so key to the doing of business that they couldn’t hire somebody allergic.

              Now, I understand that you may not agree with the law in this case and feel that people with disabilities under the ADA should be willing to take a financial hit rather than request the protection of the law. And that’s a judgment people are free to privately make, but once you’re in the workplace, that’s not the operating principle, and if that belief was apparent in another employee in this situation, that would be sufficiently legally risky that that person could be risking discipline and firing.

              Reply
              1. Observer

                The thing is, though, that the ADA does not require that a disabled person ALWAYS be accommodated, regardless of the cost to the company. Yes, the OP is “qualified”, but the accommodation also needs to be reasonable. For instance, it’s pretty clear that if the allergy is severe enough that the company would not only have to ban dogs, but also spend 5 figures to make their workspace safe, the company would probably not be required to do it.

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  No disagreement there, and, of course, much of this happens in the grey area where you only know for sure if a court decides, and most in that area don’t ever make it to court. I’m mostly underscoring Sapphire’s point that “established” isn’t the same thing as “necessary for the business,” and I’m also making the point that if the business did end up accommodating the OP, her co-workers would need to understand that bitching about the loss of this perk to her would be a supremely bad idea.

                2. fposte

                  @Yorick–not sure if you’re replying to me or Observer, but what we’re really talking about here is whether banning dogs constitutes an “undue hardship.” That’s a complicated question (I think right now Observer thinks it might and I think it might not) that’s evaluated on a case by case basis; I’ll append an EEOC link in followup for more info.

                3. fposte

                  @me–and I got lost in my sentence and reversed Observer’s and my positions. I think banning dogs isn’t likely to be considered an undue hardship, while I believe she thinks it might be.

              2. Aunt Piddy

                We don’t know her allergies rise to the level of ADA accommodation, though. It is generally going to be higher than sniffles, and higher than even asthma attacks (I came up against this when I requested my employer clean the air ducts and carpet so I could stop using my inhaler three times a day).

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  The fact that your employer refused to clean the carpet doesn’t automatically mean that your asthma wasn’t covered under the ADA, though. It could just mean they didn’t think the risk of your taking legal action was great enough to bother.

            4. Yorick

              An office job that has nothing to do with dogs isn’t comparable to handling pork at HoneyBaked Ham

              Reply
        4. JS

          1+ Like this is NOT the only job out here. Why would you even want to be “that person” who was responsible for destroying a well loved perk???

          Reply
            1. OrganizedHRChaos

              I agree, I think my whole issue with this is not banning dogs in an already dog friendly environment, its that OP knows she is allergic and wants to “feel ok” with not disclosing that she is when interviewing at a dog friendly work place. How is she going to handle it if she has to break out her inhaler or epi-pen in the middle of the face to face because everyone interviewing her is covered in dog hair? Do you need an ambulance on standby?

              Reply
        5. tusky

          I completely understand the importance that folks place on being able to bring dogs to work, and the associated anger at the thought of losing that. It’s no trivial matter. I do, however, take issue with the idea that it would be selfish, rude, and/or cavalier for OP to take this job with the knowledge that it might eliminate a perk for everyone else. It might be these things; there are a lot of contingent and unknown factors. But I think it’s also worth considering that the OP might not have a buffet of (good) job opportunities. And that there is already a societal tendency to treat requests for disability accommodations as burdensome, especially when it’s a disability that is seen as less “serious” (would we consider it rude if the OP’s disability instead might require the employer to build an expensive wheelchair lift that then meant they had to stop funding a different beloved perk?) So maybe let’s not heap guilt on the OP for considering it.

          Reply
          1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            I am someone who has severe asthma & allergies, including to animals, and have a long history of terrible attacks & dozens of ER visits. I TOTALLY understand where she is coming from. And I also know what it like to have few good job choices. I STILL think OP is nuts to not self select out right away. Why would they even WANT to deal with all that, when finding a different job is going to be a million times easier? (Because, COME ON, no one is going to be happy with her at the new job INCLUDING management, who are going to resent having it sprung on them at the last minute, having to deal with the headache of informing current employees that this perk/compensation was being taken from them, having to manage the now disgruntled employees, losing some/many valuable, experienced employees who may far outshine untested greenhorn new hire OP, who will lose out on good new hires once word gets around about this great perk being ripped away…they may HAVE to accommodate her, but they sure don’t have to like her. I can’t imagine her having much of a future at a place where she alienated everyone from coworkers to management to c-suite or owners right from the get go, and personally, I’d rather work a less suitable job for awhile than take one that I can’t even work one day at without garnering ill will from everyone else.

            Reply
      3. brainjacker

        Sure, this may not be a good method for other disabilities, but for allergies specifically – and particularly when the overwhelmingly vast majority of offices are not dog-friendly – this specific situation seems like a bad fit. Not commenting broadly on disabilities and the workplace overall.

        Reply
        1. JS

          I think this is a really fair view. It’s rare, very rare that companies are dog friendly. Even some companies that would be the office space they are in isn’t. I would chalk it up to “not a good culture fit” rather than a company not accommodating a disability.

          It would be completely different if OP was already working their and established and they wanted to start allowing dogs. Then I would say she would have more grounds to veto the whole thing.

          Reply
      4. all aboard the anon train

        Allergies are different, though. I once turned down a job because they had a lot of cats in the office and I’m severely allergic and also a bit wary of them. And I’d never go work in a seafood place because I’m also severely allergic to shellfish, or ask the cafeteria at work to stop serving it on the menu.

        I really don’t think it’s fair to put allergies on the same level as disabilities. They’re not the same thing at all.

        Reply
        1. Cube Ninja

          I think it’s fair to say allergies are *generally* not something most people would consider a disability. However, I’d also argue that it’s totally fair to consider an allergy with the potential to kill you a pretty big disability that you need to account for in your daily life. :)

          Reply
          1. bossy

            Also, it doesn’t really matter what one “thinks”. Per Alison’s answer, sometimes allergies *are* considered disabilities.

            Reply
      5. Close Bracket

        I made the choice to stop applying at my target company because their corporate culture would be unaccepting of my autism. A disability should not automatically *not* be a criterion for deciding whether to work somewhere *just* because it’s a disability.

        Reply
        1. Plague of frogs

          “A disability should not automatically *not* be a criterion for deciding whether to work somewhere”

          This is a great point.

          I can’t work in offices with unlimited supplies of free food. I have no idea if my compulsive over-eating could be considered a disability. If it was, I have no interest in getting a new job and then getting the free food banned for everyone.

          Reply
          1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            This example is PERFECT.

            I’m a person with severe allergies, I “get it” from OPs point of view, and I cannot fathom why they would even consider working at a place where it meant that a huge office wide perk that many people value would have to be taken away for them to work there.

            Reply
      6. Juney Junipero

        Agreed. The value to this individual of having a job is surely greater than any individual’s value of the dog-friendly office perk. But once all the individuals benefiting from the perk are summed up, maybe the group benefit exceeds. It’s hard to fault OP for wanting to get the job! It’s a huge deal to one’s life (as is obviously well understood by people commenting here).

        Reply
        1. Doe-Eyed

          And realistically, what does this cost the employer? If the employer is able to retain higher level staff because of this unusual perk, and then they leave because it is no longer offered and comparable skill staff costs more to bring in, combined with recruiting costs, etc…

          Reply
      7. Indoor Cat

        As a person with a disability myself, I do think there’s a big difference between an accommodation that helps me and has no effect (or, heck, positive effects) on my coworkers, and an accommodation that makes my coworkers’ lives harder.

        –Re-arranging desks in an open office so a wheelchair user can easily navigate? No effect on able-bodied employees, positive effect for the disabled one.
        –Paying for software so legally blind or legally deaf employees can better read documents and communicate with the rest of the staff? Positive effect for everyone, since many sighted employees also appreciate the option of listening to documents read aloud in headphones, and many hearing employees appreciate transcripts or subtitles for meetings.
        –Arranging work from home options for an employee who has chronic pain or illness and can’t come into work every day? Generally positive, so long as the work is still getting done.

        Often, employers worry that the accommodations are going to be too difficult or expensive, when 95% of the time they’re pretty easy and have a net positive effect. It’s the other 5% that’s troublesome. People are going to get mad at you if the accommodation you request involves them doing extra work or giving up something they like.

        I can’t drive, for example, but my current job is close enough to my home that it’s no trouble to pay for lyft /uber every day. But if I was interviewing for a job with a longer commute, I’d try to figure out the least expensive way to get there (lyft to bus stop, bus to city, lyft from second bus stop to workplace) and see if the company could partially or completely reimburse my travel expense as part of accommodation. I’d balk if their suggested accommodation was to rely on my coworkers for transportation. Legally, that’d be an allowable proposal, and it’d save the company money. But I’d push back on that because I don’t want to give my co-workers extra work, and driving someone somewhere is work (that’s why Uber isn’t free in the first place).

        While I sympathize with OP, they might be underestimating how aggravating it is to give up a job perk; or maybe I’m too nice and just care what other people think too much.

        Reply
        1. Marillenbaum

          No, I think you’re being entirely reasonable in your assessment: it is important to consider the externalities of the types of accommodations workplaces make (and workplaces absolutely should accommodate disabilities), and as much as reasonably possible, aim to ensure those accommodations have minimal negative externalities.

          Reply
    2. Future Analyst

      Yes, this. There aren’t that many offices that allow dogs on a regular basis, so I would argue that OP should just add this to her list of non-starters, and opt out. There are so many more employers that don’t allow dogs, so your options aren’t prohibitively narrowed down by simply avoiding offices that do allow dogs.

      Reply
        1. Roscoe

          Not all, but some. I think its one thing to want accomodations, another to want to change the culture of everyone who is already there.

          Reply
        2. SushiRoll

          But in most other cases I can think of, accommodating others’ disabilities doesn’t mean taking away a unique/significant perk for EVERYONE else.

          Reply
          1. SignalLost

            Yup. Having a wheelchair-accessible office doesn’t impact employees who don’t use a wheelchair in the same way as removing a perk affects the people who use the perk (and I can’t stand dogs in offices because are you kidding me right now with this; I would rather have fifty seven invasive corporate wellness programs than one idiot who thinks Lil Sweetums is great in the office because she doesn’t see his territory guarding behaviour).

            Reply
            1. JS

              I disagree with you not wanting dogs in office but I totally cackled at invasive corporate wellness and Lil Sweetums LMAO!

              Reply
          2. Falling Diphthong

            Bingo indeed. ADDING a ramp or voice-to-text software isn’t taking anything away from other people. (Indeed, these accommodations are examples of things that then get used by lots of non-disabled people.) But if accommodating your addition to the office means they lose the stocked snacks, or the dogs, or the Friday kegger, or working from home, or the open courtyard that attracts birds and bees–and especially if those were important factors to taking the job–then the perk killer is going to be hated. By people who lost the perk, by people who liked or relied on people who lost the perk and so went elsewhere, by management because they lost people when they had to take away a valued perk, who are now slamming the company for their bait and switch hiring tactics.

            You can argue that technically you are within your legal rights even if many people at your new job loathe you, but I don’t know why anyone would deliberately take a new job aiming to bring about that dynamic and “Oh… Fergus Cheese…. *grooooan* Before him…” professional reputation.

            Reply
        3. A

          I’m not sure where I stand on this specific issue, but it does seem like a little bit of a false equivalency to compare allergies to other disabilities. Very few disability accommodations require taking away a quality of work life perk from every other employee. Requiring a quiet room, wider pathways between desks, an elevator, the right to wear ear protection – none of these impact coworkers in a negative way.

          I sympathize with the LW, but like — I have horrible pollen allergies, so I can’t get a job with the parks department. If an allergy-producing situation is part of the daily work life of a place, that means it’s not a good fit, especially when there are MANY other jobs that don’t have this issue.

          Idk. I don’t want to be an ableist asshole but this just seems too narrow to really be an ADA issue.

          Reply
          1. A

            On the other hand (obviously I’m conflicted), if I had a severe/deadly peanut allergy and started a new job, I would want to ensure that no one would have peanut products in shared cupboards/spaces. I think the severity of the person’s allergies also impacts the viability of their claim.

            Reply
            1. Penny Lane

              Right, but there’s a difference between having a severe peanut allergy and requesting that people not store peanut butter in the company break room, which could be a reasonable accommodation, and having a severe peanut allergy and deciding to take a job at Five Guys Burger chain which has big bins of peanuts all over the place (and signs indicating that they have these) – where the “accommodation” would mean changing Five Guys’ business models which is to have peanuts available for snacking.

              Reply
              1. Merida Ann

                Five Guys’ peanuts are for the customers, though – they’re part of their business and part of the actual job. This situation is more like going to work at an accounting office where everyone has been given an open jar of peanut butter to keep and eat from at their desks. It’s a perk, and maybe lots of people working there chose this job because of their deep love of eating peanut butter from the jar, but at the end of the day, the business is still an accounting firm, not a restaurant that’s well-known for having peanuts available for their customers. The peanut butter and the dogs are not part of the actual job.

                Reply
            2. JS

              Well its different if you said they couldnt have them in shared spaces versus their own desks. They could still have it just in their own area.

              Reply
          2. Mike C.

            But the difference is that a core part of working for the parks department is dealing with outdoor parks. Your comparison would make more sense if the job were at an animal shelter, veterinarian or zoo. But that’s not the case, this is simply an office that allows dogs.

            Reply
          3. Genny

            The problem with that analogy is that being in a park is likely a key part of a park ranger’s job. Having your dog at the office isn’t a key part of the job at the company LW is applying to. It’s one thing to self-select out because you can’t handle a key part of the job (i.e. LW probably should avoid becoming a vet, someone with a seafood allergy probably shouldn’t work at Legal Seafoods, etc.), it’s another to say she should self-select out because of a perk the company offers. That seems pretty ableist.

            Reply
        4. paul

          I’d argue it really doesn’t matter: there’s no way this ends well for OP if she gets known as the reason you can’t have dogs at work. I’m anti dogs at the office generally (despite liking dogs) but I just can’t see a way for this *not* to have a lot of the office pissed off at the OP.

          Reply
          1. The Original K.

            Yeah, I’ve come across enough pet zealots (including ones we’ve read about in other letters here on AAM, and there are already commenters in the thread here saying they’d be really angry if they had to stop bringing their dog to work) not to want to touch this. I’m like you – I’m OK with (some) dogs but I’m anti-dogs-at-work, so I opt out of places that offer that perk – one person’s perk might be another person’s deal-breaker. Sometimes you just have to think “Oh well, that’s a shame” and keep it moving.

            Reply
            1. Lissa

              I don’t think you have to be a pet zealot to be really angry about losing a perk that is potentially a big increase in quality of life, though. I’m actually not in favor of dogs at work for this among other reasons, but I think some people are painting everyone who would be upset about this as zealots who care more about dogs than people being able to breath which is IMO a bit of a strawman.

              Reply
              1. Not a Blossom

                Agreed. You need to remember that this is a perk that is potentially saving people money. Being upset about losing the perk and having to spend more money doesn’t mean they are a zealot.

                Reply
          2. fposte

            Yeah, I think Alison was very clear-headed on her differentiating between what’s a legally supported move and what’s a pragmatic move here. I can see there being situations where I really didn’t have much choice but to take the job, but if I did, I’d probably head elsewhere; it’s too much of an uphill battle to succeed in that situation.

            Reply
          3. A day in the zoo

            Agreed. In this case, there may be individuals who specifically accepted a job in this company BECAUSE they could bring their dog to work. I have friends who waited to get a dog until they found a company that allowed them to keep it with them all day. Banning dogs will mean a major culture shift in this organization and that will not make you popular. This is not a “great fit” for you or the company.

            Keep in mind, most industries are small and people will leave as a result of dog ban — especially if that perk was a trade off in some other way — length of business day, income, etc. Those people will leave and go other places and you may find issues with finding a job years from now as a result.

            Reply
          4. Falling Diphthong

            I think it’s somewhat analogous to coming in as a manager and announcing that all the flex-time is now gone, because you like butts in chairs. Or all accrued vacation time is now set to zero because people should be dedicated and not take vacations. People who took the job with that perk in mind are going to be mad and consider going elsewhere; people who didn’t use the perk but liked and relied on the people quitting are not going to be happy. The new manager can say all day long how it’s legal and they are legally allowed to do this and it’s not like flex-time was essential to being able to perform the job and also it’s legal–they still are going to be wildly unpopular. And “but is it fair?” isn’t going to enter into it.

            Reply
        5. General Ginger

          In most cases, a disability accommodation for one person won’t require taking away everyone else’s perk.

          Reply
        6. Jadelyn

          …you do realize that it’s possible to make an argument that is specific to a unique set of circumstances, without necessarily needing to construct the argument to remain relevant if broadly applied, yes? I feel like you’re really reaching by trying to turn this into an ALL DISABILITIES issue here.

          Reply
        7. Penny Lane

          No. Why do we have to be so extreme? Different situations may call for different levels of accommodation.

          Reply
        8. jb

          Let’s see. Suppose you were in a wheelchair. Would you self-select out of jobs located in 6th-story walkup lofts, even if they had generous remote-work policies? Sure.

          Reply
          1. Merida Ann

            Nope. If it was a job that they wanted and would be hired for otherwise and they could do the actual work while remaining in they wheelchair if the offices were on the ground level, the law requires that being in a wheelchair would not stop someone from the position that they would otherwise be able to fill. The employer would need to have an elevator in the space or find other ways to make it possible for me to do the job.

            Reply
            1. MK

              I doubt that. I seriously doubt “reasonable accommodation” covers installing an elevator to a building that wasn’t build to have one; in many buildings you wouldn’t be able to get the permit for the alteration, it’s a considerable expense, it’s a decision that usually needs to be made by all of the co-owners of the building. And if the potential employer is renting the office space, it’s probably a non-starter.

              Reply
            2. JS

              They dont have to make reasonable accommodations if they are under a certain amount of employees. I live in NYC so many non accessible small businesses.

              Reply
      1. Mike C.

        This is really ridiculous. No one should have to “opt out” of their ability to work simply because of a working condition that has nothing what so ever to do with the core business itself.

        Reply
        1. CmdrShepard4ever

          I agree with the statement broadly about having to opt out because of a disability. but they are not being required to opt out of their ability to work everywhere there are plenty more employers that don’t allow dogs at work.

          I know this is a bit different. But would you say a person who works as a cat groomer and wants to work at ABC Dog/Cat grooming company because it pays better, it is closer to home, has better health insurance etc is able to tell them to stop grooming dogs. But they could work at XYZ exclusive cat grooming where dogs are not allowed but it is a worse job. I know this is not quite the same the first scenario would not be a reasonable accommodation because it is a core part of the business.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            But dealing with cats is a core function of a cat grooming business. That’s not the case here at all and your comparison makes no sense.

            Reply
            1. KRM

              That’s not what he said. He said that if you’re a cat groomer, and ABC grooming is hiring a cat groomer, but also grooms dogs, but has better pay and benefits, you can’t tell them that you want the job but they have to work around your dog allergy by stopping grooming dogs. You can get a job at XYZ groomer that ONLY does cats, and sorry the pay is lower, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

              Reply
        2. Tardigrade

          Yeah, I think I fall more on this side of things. If the office wants to offer perks to its employees, then perhaps OP could be the reason everyone gets more telework or bonus PTO or something else in place of the dogs at work perk.

          Reply
          1. Observer

            Essentially, you are saying that the company should start offering the perks YOU like, rather than the perks THEY want, and that may have actually been part of the reason they took the job.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              I think she’s just suggesting that this would be a good way for the office to deal with the situation if the OP were hired, not that that would neatly resolve everybody’s problem.

              Reply
            2. Tardigrade

              No, I’m saying the company could offer existing employees perks to mitigate the loss of the dog perk. If the issue is financial, then they could offer discounted dog services, or, again, more WFH opportunities.

              But I also think this would be best resolved by attempting other accommodations before removing or substituting that perk.

              Reply
              1. Cornflower Blue

                Discounted dog services still require the current employees to shell out more money than they are currently doing (which is 0). LW would be financially impacting a lot of people NEGATIVELY, so from their POV, they’d not only be losing the companionship of their pet but also they’d be losing money because of her.

                Does her right to earn a paycheck justify everyone else having a chunk taken out of theirs?

                Reply
        3. Jadelyn

          No one is asking OP to “opt out of their ability to work” – just to consider whether they really should be trying to work specifically at this company, which is known for a dog-friendly culture. Considering that the vast majority of offices are NOT that level of dog-friendly, acknowledging that dog-friendly office spaces are not a good environment for OP because of their unique needs is in no way equivalent to “opting out of their ability to work” in general terms. This seems to be a really disingenuous way of reframing it.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Several people are advising the OP to look elsewhere for work. That reduces her ability to find work.

            Considering that having dogs around isn’t a core part of the business and that federal law protects the OP, this defense of the dog-friendly environment at the expense of the OP possibly taking the job is ridiculous.

            Reply
            1. Future Analyst

              But my point was that so few offices (relatively) allow dogs that it doesn’t really reduce the OP’s ability to find work. Yes, if she lives in a small town and this company is the only major employer, that would make this different, but I assume she would have mentioned that if it were the case.

              Reply
              1. MuseumChick

                We really don’t know that. Depending on a number of factors the OPs job prospects could be very limited. And if this does rise to the level of a disability it would be incredible unkind of the workers at this company to take out their frustration on the person with a medical issue.

                Reply
            2. Jadelyn

              It’s literally ONE COMPANY. This is not tantamount to banning OP from the workforce, or even from a specific job market. There are some companies in my area that I wouldn’t work at for various reasons, including potentially medical-related reasons; should I blame them for existing in ways that are inconvenient for me based in my own needs, and claim that that’s forcing me to opt out of working?

              Reply
              1. Guacamole Bob

                It’s so interesting how different people’s experiences of the job market are. I’m in government, which is a bit of a different landscape, but I work at literally the only agency in my area large enough to have full-time staff doing what I do. If I weren’t able to work here, I’d have to switch to the private sector and take a job that has very different characteristics (consulting). It’s not that I couldn’t get a job elsewhere, but this one organization is by far the best spot for my career right now in my large metro area.

                Reply
                1. Gigglewater

                  To your point and what I think the LW should keep in my mind (to many commenter’s points and what I think AAM is saying) – if this is your only/best option it is what is- but you should be aware of how you could be perceived or treated because you joining this company, knowing what you know about the culture, will likely result in many people losing a work perk they want and exercise. You might do the math and decide you can or have to deal with people being cool to you or deal with whatever petty things people will do because it’s human nature – but it’s a real possibility and something you should consider carefully while making this choice. Ultimately you’re likely within your legal rights to ask for the accommodation so if that’s what you pursue you are legally covered but you can’t demand that office relationship dynamics follow.

                2. BuffaLove

                  And your government agency doesn’t need to offer dog-friendliness as a perk, because people want to work there for other reasons. If one of the zillion consulting firms offered dog-friendliness as a perk, it wouldn’t be that awful to have to opt out of jobs there.

              2. Mike C.

                It’s not the issue of “just one company”, it’s that laws and public policy has to apply to everyone. I don’t mean that literally every office must be dog free, but it means that if a qualifying workplace needs to comply to the ADA regulations appropriate for their workforce, then every qualifying workplace must comply.

                Otherwise every workplace can simply say “but we’re just one workplace, why can’t they apply elsewhere?”

                Reply
            3. Kate 2

              The vast, vast majority, probably 99% of workplaces, are dog-unfriendly. This really doesn’t reduce her ability to find work. Some people are actually comparing it to telling wheelchair users not to apply to jobs in buildings without ramps. This is . . . a ridiculous exaggeration.

              Reply
            4. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

              I mean, I have a mental health issue that has risen to the level of requiring ADA accommodations. There are quite a few jobs that I’ve had to pass on because the office culture/layout would not be conducive to my mental health. Great pay, great responsibilities, sometimes a great boss or great benefits or a step up in title – still had to pass them up because a certain aspect wasn’t a good fit for me. It is what it is.

              Reply
            5. Observer

              Actually, the law probably does NOT protect the OP if the only accommodation they can use is to ban dogs at the office. Because the law DOES have a limit on how far a company needs to go to accommodate a disability even for a “qualified” individual. And changing a compensation package for the entire company could be seen as not being reasonable.

              Reply
              1. fposte

                I think that’s the argument the defendant would use, that’s for sure :-). I’m not sure if they’d prevail, though.

                Reply
                1. Observer

                  I’m not a lawyer, so I’m definitely not going to claim that my opinion as fact. But, it’s pretty clear that “it’s not a part of the job” is not the whole story. That’s not the only thing that factors into how reasonable an accommodation is from the legal POV. So assuming that the law definitely requires this is not a really good idea unless you’re a lawyer with lots of legal experience in this area. (And I’m using the generic you, not you = fposte.)

            6. Alienor

              Federal law only requires reasonable accommodations, though. If OP had been working there for five years dog-free, and they suddenly decided to switch to a dog-friendly environment, it would be reasonable to request that they not do that. It’s not reasonable to ask them to change something that’s a major part of their corporate culture for someone who’s making the choice to work there *knowing* that dogs are part of the office and they’re allergic to dogs.

              Reply
              1. fposte

                I think you’re relying on an individual interpretation of “reasonable accommodation,” though, when it’s a specific legal term whose interpretation would be based on legal precedents.

                Reply
            7. Starbuck

              “federal law protects the OP”

              This would seem to be contingent on the severity of the allergy, no? I don’t think we can necessarily assume that the allergy is severe enough to rise to the level of disability, which is why some people are taking the “ridiculous” position that this workplace just may not be the best fit for OP. People may chose to self-select out of jobs for many valid reasons.

              Reply
            8. Falling Diphthong

              I would advise lots of people to look elsewhere for work, for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t reduce their ability to find work so much as it focuses them on jobs that they will not quickly come to hate, or quickly be hated in. Like pointing out that the commute is terrible, or the open office plan, or the fertilizer smell wafting off the adjacent nursery, or the crazy supervisor, or the need to issue marriage licenses.

              Reply
            9. A.

              Yes but I would not want to work in an office where my new coworkers (including supervisor) are angry with me and icing me out because I got their perk taken away. It would be hard for me to walk into that environment. Especially since we spend so much time with the people we work with. If I could avoid it, I would. If I’m allergic to the sun, maybe I don’t apply for a job known for having their meetings on a rooftop or outside at the park as a perk.

              Reply
            10. Perse's Mom

              But lots of work benefits aren’t core parts of the business. They’re additional pieces intended to entice and retain good employees. That includes things like PTO and health insurance! Commenters frequently discuss how important their commute is to them in one way or another; that’s included in calculations around whether or not to take a new job, along with flextime and work from home capacity.

              But very few people would bat an eye at an OP concerned about their 30min commute turning into an hour and a half, or remote work being revoked, etc. It IS a real impact on employee quality of life.

              Reply
            11. Lara

              I actually think the opposite is a little ridiculous. We self select out of jobs all the time, and sometimes that means a job search takes longer or pay is a little lower. And that includes for medical needs.

              Reply
        4. smoke tree

          I tend to agree that pets don’t belong in offices. I’ve just met enough people with badly behaved dogs, and who don’t have a reasonable sense of how well behaved their dogs are, that I think it’s just likely to end badly in most cases. On principle it seems unreasonable that anyone should have to give up on a position because it takes place in an office with dogs.

          On the other hand, I realize that a lot of people really love this benefit and likely some of them chose to work there at least in part because of it. So I can see why they would be annoyed if it were taken away by someone who knew ahead of time that there were dogs in the office. If I were the LW, I would think pretty carefully about whether it would be worth potentially creating a lot of ill will in their new position. Ultimately, though, I think the best solution is for dogs to stay out of offices altogether (and I love dogs! I just don’t love all dog owners).

          Reply
        5. Yorick

          I agree. A person can make their own decision to opt out because of overall culture, but having dogs in the office isn’t exactly a culture thing. The physical presence of dogs can be changed without affecting the actual business that needs to be done.

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            Lots of perks can be taken away without affecting the actual business. In fact, calling it a “perk” pretty much implies this–the office can run with flex-time or with strict schedules, with generous PTO or none, with catered lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays or a strict no food anywhere policy, with matching IRA contributions or none, with telecommuting or none.

            If you are seen as the reason any of those perks is taken away–“Janet is the reason we can’t have nice things anymore”–then it’s not likely to be an enjoyable, or enduring, job.

            Reply
        6. Totally Minnie

          I understand the principle you’re arguing here, but quality of work life is important as well. It’s hard enough being the new kid at work, trying to form relationships and figure out who can help you with certain tasks if you need the assistance. Being the new kid at work when you’re the reason management took away a well loved and highly utilized office perk would make those things even more difficult.

          I’m also allergic to animals and I’d only consider applying to pet-friendly offices if I had absolutely no other options, because I don’t relish the idea of spending 40 hours a week entirely isolated from office social groups because I’m the reason pets got banned from the office.

          Reply
      1. Rana

        Yes. I don’t understand how being unable to tolerate a key part of the company culture equals a good fit. If you like a high-charging environment you’re not going to enjoy a slow-paced company and vice versa. If you’re a homebody, you’re not going to find a lots-of-traveling place comfortable. And so on.

        So I don’t understand what about this job reads as “good fit” given that the OP couldn’t work there without a major change to the company culture taking place first.

        Reply
    3. verbal

      I saw an interesting thread, I think on Reddit, about a really difficult situation: one employee had a life-threatening dog allergy, and another had a service animal.

      Reply
          1. Amy the Rev

            I didn’t follow the thread all the way to the end, but as per the ADA, service animals trump allergies, in that a service animal can’t be kicked out due to someone else’s allergies.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              I think that phrasing is misleading, in that there’s no real “trumping” involved when you’re talking the intersection of accommodation for two ADA-covered disabilities (and the business *really* doesn’t want to get into the position where they’re saying one disability counts more than the other).

              You’re right that they shouldn’t stay straight up “No service animals for you!” They could, though, explore the possibility that the person with the service animal could rely on other assistance during meetings with the allergic person rather than coming with the service dog, and/or could wash the animal weekly, and/or the offices could be kept far apart and the service animal precluded from the allergic person’s office area.

              Reply
              1. Amy the Rev

                Yeah, I could’ve used less connotation-laden language there- from what I’ve read, teh ADA recommendation for competing allergy/service animal accommodations is to try and keep the people as separate as possible. Though this may be more for public places like schools and ‘laypeople’ using a business or store, I’m not sure if there are different recommendations for the workplace.

                Reply
          2. fposte

            Workplace unwisely ill-treated the highly valuable allergic employee, who promptly left, which lost the workplace a major contract.

            Reply
    4. Susan Sto Helit

      I think the overall answer is going to be that…yes, you COULD get a job at this place, without having to disclose your allergy, and you COULD have accommodations made for you, even up to the level of dogs being banned from the office. You COULD. But should you? Just because it’s possible, is it sensible?

      Rather than looking at this from a medical perspective, try looking at this from a cultural perspective. Are you going to be a good fit for this office culture? Are you going to be a good fit with the management (assuming most offices become dog-friendly because the people /at the top/ want them to be dog-friendly, and potentially want to bring their own pets)? How prepared are you to deal with colleagues who, while hopefully professional, you can expect to be unhappy about having this perk taken away?

      If there are no other jobs available to you then I get that need for a paycheck might overrule all that. But if there are other jobs that you could go for, you might want to consider if this is truly a battle worth having.

      Reply
      1. serenity

        Rather than looking at this from a medical perspective, try looking at this from a cultural perspective. Are you going to be a good fit for this office culture? Are you going to be a good fit with the management (assuming most offices become dog-friendly because the people /at the top/ want them to be dog-friendly, and potentially want to bring their own pets)? How prepared are you to deal with colleagues who, while hopefully professional, you can expect to be unhappy about having this perk taken away?

        Thanks for saying this. There’s a tendency for (longtime) commenters to get super wonk-y on here when it comes to things law/ADA-related. Regardless of the extent of the law (and OP’s allergies) , it seems like it would just be an uphill battle to come into this workplace and potentially rub a lot of new colleagues the wrong way. What is the cost/benefit here? It all depends on the OP’s field, her hire-ability elsewhere, her allergies, etc.

        Reply
      2. Bella

        This.

        I think the question is how important is the salary, etc to me vs how important is the daily working environment to me?

        Reply
    5. Banana stand

      I agree and I’m glad this was the first comment. It seems odd that she would willingly come into a situation that’s not ideal and potentially take away a benefit from her future coworkers. That would probably start her off on the wrong foot with some ppl

      Reply
  2. Doodle

    Oof, this is tough. I’d hate to see people self select out for other disabling conditions (ADA compliant buildings, say), but I agree that it would be hard to be the person who took the dogs away. Maybe “almost all telework” is a possible accommodation? Or your own office, or an office on a different floor, depending on the severity of your allergies.

    Reply
    1. Doodle

      ** Err, people who have conditions that are not easily accommodated, like someone in a wheelchair selecting out of a non-ADA compliant office, thus meaning the company never has to change…

      Reply
      1. Angela Ziegler

        The difference is the dog policy seems like part of the company culture, as well as a ‘perk’ of the office. Putting in a ramp or re-arranging an office area isn’t affected by that and doesn’t directly hinder other employees. Having an employee allergic to dogs, in an office filled with dogs, makes implementing it hard just due to the dander. Dog hair gets *everywhere*, and it’s not reasonable for the company to be able to completely isolate an employee from pet dander in an office of dogs. Physically it would be a very hard task, if even possible. The company can change things to implement it, but realistically it could end up with employees losing a perk and OP being ostracized. It’s not fair to OP because the allergy isn’t her fault, but it sounds like OP should have ‘dog-free environment’ as a list of their prerequisites for a ‘perfect fit’.

        Disabilities are important and need to be respected, and employers are expected to make reasonable accommodations, but if the disability can be avoided entirely by ‘not being around dogs’, it would be in the OP’s best interest to make sure she’s not working around dogs in the workplace.

        Reply
        1. Talia

          Except legally, and I think morally as well, that’s not the OP’s responsibility; it’s the employer’s. This is *absolutely* a slippery slope thing– because the argument of “well, but most disability accommodations don’t cause inconvenience for everyone else while this one does” is functionally saying “people with disabilities only deserve to participate in society if they can do so without inconveniencing others”.

          Reply
          1. Angela Ziegler

            But OP’s disability only comes up in a very specific and unusual workplace situation- it’s not something that follows them from job to job or company to company. She doesn’t have to face the disability all the time. If someone is deathly allergic to strawberries, it wouldn’t make sense to seek work at Jamba Juice. There’s a balance between ‘they might need to make some accommodations for me, but that’s part of the work and they can adapt’ and ‘they will need to make large, significant changes for me because their workplace is horribly incompatible with my disability.’

            Reply
            1. Talia

              That’s true if it’s about the work. This *isn’t* about the work– this is a perk. It’s more comparable to a workplace that provides free peanut snacks in the break rooms hiring an allergic-to-peanuts person and not being able to do that anymore. However much people like having their dogs there, the dogs are not actually part of the work.

              Reply
              1. Perse's Mom

                Neither is vacation time or flex time or health insurance or the ability to work from home. People weigh benefits and perks while job searching, and people opt out of jobs all the time when those things don’t meet their needs.

                Reply
          2. Starbuck

            Isn’t that what the law says, by stipulating that only “reasonable” accommodations are required? And by allowing exemptions from the ADA for small employers? I agree it’s a terrible message to send, but it is already coming down from the top.

            Reply
      2. MK

        True, but I think it makes sense in cases where there can be no “reasonable accommodation” (a part people tend to disregard). If the unsuitable-for-wheelchairs workplace is located on the top floor of listed building that has no elevator, then, yes, the disabled candidate needs to self-select out. It would be pretty weird to go through the song-and-dance of accepting the job, asking for accommodation, being told the building cannot change and it’s not reasonable to demand that the company moves, and then leaving the job.

        The OP’s case is not the same of course, but the wording “dogs are brought in daily” gives me pause. Alison takes it for granted that the OP refers to employees’ dogs, but what if it’s a store that allows customers to bring their pets in? Would it be reasonable to ask the bussiness to change its policy and possibly alienate customers?

        Reply
      3. Chinook

        “people who have conditions that are not easily accommodated, like someone in a wheelchair selecting out of a non-ADA compliant office, thus meaning the company never has to change”

        But if the company is in a historically designated building that cannot legally, in a reasonable time frame, be modified, then it is possible that a wheelchair using employee cannot be easily accommodated. Sure, an elevator could be added, but it would take 6 months of permitting and architectural design before work could even be started (if it is even approved). Or, if you work at a historical site with historical homes, there is no way to add an elevator or some other type of lift without destroying the integrity of the building. As a result, a wheelchair user would have to be limited to the main floor (as an external ramp could be added) but, if they are required to do their work on the second floor, they would not be able to do that work.

        Reply
    2. Alton

      It is tough, because ideally, companies should be proactive about accessibility and inclusivity, so that it shouldn’t *be* a shock if a new employee ends up being allergic to dogs or need other kinds of accommodations. There are also some very good reasons why someone might not want to disclose a disability or medical condition until after they’ve been hired.

      But I also think that if we were talking about, say, a wheelchair user applying to work somewhere that’s known to not be accessible to wheelchairs, I would see it as similarly risky to go through the hiring process without addressing accessibility or mentioning that they use a wheelchair.

      I also think you have to consider what types of accommodations are acceptable for you. For example, if teleworking is possible, is that something you would be happy with or would you feel left out or like you couldn’t do your job as effectively? I’m curious about what it is that makes this job feel like a perfect fit to the OP, because if it’s something like the (non-dog-related) culture, working from home or from an out-of-the-way office might undermine that. Working with people who are sad because they can’t bring their dogs to work anymore could also undermine that.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        It’s really no different than a start up learning that as they add employees outside of a small circle of friends that dick jokes aren’t appropriate for work anymore and that more professional norms must be realized to continue on.

        Reply
          1. Hey Karma, Over here.

            I agree. It is more like, if part of the salary/compensation package was a gym membership or some membership in some organization in which the employee couldn’t participate. The new employee could be compensated in a way that didn’t involve the others losing their perk.
            Back to peanuts… Let’s assume the office culture is that a chef comes in a prepares lunch every Friday. If a new employee has a severe peanut allergy, I think employees would have to accept no more peanut sauce or cookies. I don’t think they’d have to accept losing the chef.

            Reply
          2. Mike C.

            You’re nitpicking here. The greater point is that as you add employees you must become more inclusive, and part of that means dropping older practices that are harmful to new employees. Getting rid of the dog perk is an example of this.

            Reply
            1. rldk

              It’s not, though. Your example is a change in work culture, but banning dogs would be eliminating a huge (and relatively rare) perk that has financial impact attached. Being inclusive would be not forcing her to pet dogs or excluding her from work happy hours because she doesn’t have a dog. Seeking an alternative reasonable accommodation like a separate office or WFH that would be acceptable wouldn’t make the company not inclusive.

              Reply
            2. Cass

              To what end? I agree that it’s both logical and beneficial to be as inclusive as possible, but you’re always going to exclude someone. I mean, how far do we go here? I don’t want to work somewhere that hires people named Steve. Fire all the Steves so I can work there. I get that this is not the same thing as a dog allergy, but we’re talking about a work benefit that the employer is choosing to offer, not fostering a frat boy or bullying culture. And it’s not like this is a widespread issue, plenty (probably most) employers are not dog friendly.

              Reply
              1. Yorick

                Come on. Those people wouldn’t be excluded if dogs are banned. They’d still be welcome to work there, but they could of course choose not to if that’s best for them.

                Reply
                1. Starbuck

                  Sure, so changing the policy would have the effect of excluding people who rely on it most. Let’s not be disingenuous here, that’s pretty straightforward cause and effect.

          1. Mike C.

            Why? Both are examples of company practices that are allowable when the workforce is small and intimate and wildly unprofessional as the workforce approaches a certain size.

            Reply
            1. Lara

              Having dogs in the office is not objectively unprofessional though. Sexism and dick jokes are.

              There is a huge gap between ‘personal dislike’ and ‘hostile and exclusive’.

              Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          Genny made a great comment somewhere comparing this to telling a pregnant woman not to work at a company because her pregnancy would effect her co-workers.

          Reply
        2. E.

          Disagree. That’s a group of people doing something they shouldn’t be doing at work. This is about a perk provided by the company.

          Reply
        3. Perse's Mom

          I’d liken it much more to one person’s behavior getting work-from-home privileges revoked for the entire company.

          Reply
      2. Tardy

        But there’s a reasonable chance she’d be perceived that way, unfair as it is. And it’s not really helpful to pretend otherwise.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          It’s not about pretending that there won’t be a problem, it’s about going beyond that to say that “you shouldn’t have to deal with that” and “anyone treating you like that is acting unprofessionally and illegally”. Many folks are saying, “well it’s going to be a problem so don’t bother” rather than “it’s going to be a problem so here are some strategies in dealing with that”.

          Reply
          1. Caro in the UK

            The problem is that there may very well be no strategies to successfully deal with being perceived as the person who took away the dogs. The choice may be between having the majority of the office hate you, or not taking the job. It’s a horrible choice to make, but it may be one she HAS to make.

            Reply
          2. Mockingjay

            Sooner or later, this company will have to address the perk vs. allergy issue. How many potential hires with needed skills, such as the OP, has the company missed out on because of life-threatening allergies, or simply because they don’t want to work in a building with animals? A current employee’s mild allergies might become more severe so he requests accommodation. What then?

            A company perk should benefit ALL employees. Bringing pets to work benefits only their owners and may cost the company in the long run, when good candidates self-select out, non-dog employees tire of the hair and the barking and find other jobs, and so on.

            If a company wants to attract and retain good employees, it should offer solid work, a decent wage, and a generous benefit package, instead of relying on perks to sell the job.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              I don’t know about the “all employees” thing–I don’t think most perks are going to manage that–but I like your first paragraph. It’s distinctly possible that the company doesn’t realize who it’s losing from this and therefore can’t really do te calculations on this benefit. (And sure, it may be gaining people from it as well, so it’s possible that it ends up advantageous, but I don’t think they know.)

              Reply
            2. A day in the zoo

              Employee benefit consultant here — I can’t think of one benefit program that treats people equally. Even the most common — medical — is more necessary for some employees than others. People have different health needs; others may have options through other family members. Doesn’t mean medical shouldn’t be offered, even if people are not going to take advantage of it.

              Reply
              1. Mockingjay

                A perk is not the same as a benefit. Benefits are offered as part of the compensation package in return for work performed.

                A perk is an extra offered by a company which is not an inducement for employment. My company provides perks such as free beverages, corporate discounts with major retailers, and the annual holiday party. If all those things went away, I would still work here. And that’s the crux of this thread: the dog-friendly policy is a perk to some, and not to others.

                Reply
                1. Amber T

                  But benefits and perks start blending together easily. My office provides free lunch every day as a “perk” (it wasn’t listed in my benefits package). I don’t spend several hundred to several thousand dollars a year on food because of that. When I contemplated leaving, I calculated the cost of packing my own lunch every day to see what that would cost. And it’s a perk, for as much as they try to make sure there’s a vegan/vegetarian choice, kosher choice, halal choice, every day, there are some people who still bring their own food in for their reasons.

                  The example here, not spending $X a week/month/year on dog care during the week feels like a financial benefit. So the perk here is yay, Fido is sitting at my feet, but there’s still a financial benefit. Does that supersede an employee’s health? No. But I think that’s what A day at the zoo was getting at – this is still a benefit for some people, and the company should be mindful of that.

                2. Luna

                  The dog-friendly policy is much more of a benefit than a perk.

                  Maternity leave is also only a benefit to some and not to others, but that obviously doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be offered.

                3. Sarah

                  If you think a dog-friendly office isn’t an inducement for employment for a ton of people then I don’t know what to tell you. It very blatantly is, and it is one that works.

              2. Oranges

                Is there any other perk/benefit that has a negative outcome for others when someone uses it? Everything I can think of is neutral so I’m curious.

                Only thing I could think of was PTO however, it’s of limited duration and can/should be covered by how the business is run. (Eg Steve who is taking a weeks vacay this month can only do 3 weeks worth of work. So when business sets their due dates that’s taken into consideration).

                Reply
                1. E.

                  Trying to think of examples, but most seem indirect or short-term, or just not that important…

                  Any kind of leave (PTO, maternity, bereavement, etc) could affect others by increasing their workload. The telecommuting perk started to cause issues at my last job, because so many people worked from home regularly that those who came into the office felt like it was a ghost town (this seems like a small thing, but it really did impact happiness/satisfaction there). And can’t a company’s healthcare premiums go up if employees are racking up large medical bills?

                2. BeenThere

                  Smoking. I’ve had worked various places where the locations staff could smoke varied greatly, some people could camp outside the entrance others it’s very specific locations a long way away from entrances.

                  As a reformed smoker, after one place stared triggering serious cravings due to the proximity and visibility of regular hangouts to my desk that I started interviewing. In all serious they would open the door and I’d get a lungful. One of the new things I’ve added to my evaluate new employer list was checking out the outer building of future workplaces for the smoking culture. Large quantities of cigarette butts on near entrances are a no go.

            3. LawLady

              But this is a huge perk. If my boss walked into my office and said “you can bring your dog to the office if you take a $10,000 pay cut”, I would happily make that trade.

              So while you’re right that they may be losing some employees who are allergic, they may be attracting really good people who value this particular perk, and may actually be able to pay lower wages in exchange. (I know it doesn’t actually happen as an exchange like that, but people consider the whole package of compensation and perks when considering taking a job, so I suspect this effect is real.)

              Reply
            4. Falling Diphthong

              Short of giving employees great heaping piles of money, I don’t think there is any perk that benefits all employees. Some people will love it and cite it as a major reason in their taking the job, while others never use it.

              Reply
            5. E.

              Re “A company perk should benefit ALL employees” – not all employees are going to have a use for all benefits. Just like someone who doesn’t have a dog won’t benefit from being able to bring their dog in (though many will still consider dogs at their office a perk), someone who walks to work won’t need a subsidized transit pass or free parking spot. Someone who has a disability that prevents them from using gym equipment won’t benefit from a company’s on-site gym. Someone with a caffeine intolerance won’t benefit from free coffee. These are starting to feel a little “not everyone likes sandwiches,” but I guess that’s kind of the point?

              Reply
            6. E.

              Also – Describing a dog-friendly office as “relying on perks to sell the job” is an odd way to look at it. I’d bet the statistics show that the dog-friendly perk is a benefit to the company because it helps them attract and retain so many employees – companies wouldn’t offer it if it hurt them.

              Reply
              1. So long and thanks for all the fish

                I think this is something people aren’t thinking about that might actually push this into the realm of an UNreasonable accommodation, even if the OP’s allergies actually fall under the ADA- if 20% of your employees tell management they’ll leave if the policy is revoked, is that something the business should have to accommodate?

                Reply
          3. Eye of the Hedgehog

            Mike, I agree. It might make sense for OP to move on if there are other availaboe opportunities, but it would be nice for people, including Alison, to acknowledge that it sucks that she has to avoid the job for fear of being essentially bullied by the prospective coworkers over her allergy. It might be my dirty lens (I’m not a big dogs in the workplace person) but I feel like the tone from most posters is on the lines of “get over it”, not “sorry you have to deal with this crappy and illegal situation”.

            Reply
            1. Lara

              I think a lot of commenters are getting frustrated that the framing has been “Your co-workers would rather see you dead than give up their dogs, and this is illegal and bad and wrong.”

              People are rushing to the worst kind of drama about this, and have even likened it to banning pregnant employees from the office to accommodate the distaste of teammates, a theoretical connection which I cannot fathom.

              Instead, why not “See if you can negotiate for telecommuting, because getting dogs banned from a dog friendly office will not be a fun or productive fight for you.”

              Reply
          4. Truth-teller

            Some things in life are more important than “acting unprofessionally.” Family is one of them and my dog is family. If someone like OP tried to take away my office’s dog friendly culture, yes, I am going to ostracize that person to the maximum extent the law allows me to. A few of us informally getting together for a picnic or after work drinks? Nope, the person who got dogs removed is not invited.

            I’m sure you’ll have all sorts of rejoinders to this. I do not care.

            Reply
            1. mrs__peel

              I imagine your boss would have all kinds of rejoinders to that, if you tried to implement it in reality.

              Reply
          5. Lara

            It’s more about picking your battles. OP could have a huge, unproductive, fight about this and a pyrrhic victory where everyone in the office dislikes her. Or she could move on.

            I find it really unkind that people are encouraging her to have that fight, and disrupt the lives of her co-workers, when she could simply look elsewhere.

            Reply
      3. Amber T

        But she would. No, it wouldn’t be fair. Yes, she’s in the right to ask for it. But as Seriously? pointed out above, it’s a consequence she’ll face from her coworkers.

        Reply
      4. paul

        But coworkers might well see her as such, and it could have a lot of blow back on her while she’s with them. That’s at the least worth considering here–it’s a call that she’s entitled to make but *if* her allergies are sever enough to require banning dogs there will be negative consequences for her. To make good choices, a person needs good data; and that’s a relevant bit of data. How much that matters depends on the OP, but ignoring it as a reality is head-in-the-sand wish-fullness.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          I’m fine with considering, I’m just not fine with people stopping at “it’s a problem, don’t bother trying”.

          Reply
          1. Amber T

            Granted, there are a lot of comments and I haven’t read through every single one, but most of the ones I’ve read that are on the dissuading side are “here are the problems, are you sure you want to?” Nothing is as black and white as you make it out to be.

            Reply
          2. Yorick

            And some commenters are even arguing “you’d be selfish to take this job when it might mean others can’t bring their dogs to work” and I have a real problem with that.

            On other posts we all agree that it’s so hard to find a job at all, especially a good job. But now a bunch of people act like OP should just not take this one and it’s no big deal because there are so many other companies with no dogs around to work for.

            Reply
      5. Creag an Tuire

        This is a tough one because I agree with you on law and principle, Mike… but we’ve seen how this plays out in the real world (AAM linked to it). OP is incredibly likely to end up as the office pariah for a while if her allergies require the company to end its dog-perk.

        Perhaps OP is able and willing to take that risk, but we do her no favors by downplaying it.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          I’m not trying to downplay anything here, I’m just really surprised to see people say, “it’s going to be hard so just self select out”.

          Reply
          1. SignalLost

            Why? It isn’t “going to be hard”, it’s going to be impossible. Losing a perk that will cost employees money will mean that at least the best performers leave – that costs the company. Being the person who forced a change in the office is going to have repercussions, and in this case, most of them will be negative.

            It’s not the same as your dick joke analogy, because no one is harmed by not being able to tell a dick joke – therefore, that is a reasonable growth stage for a company to go through as it hires a more diverse workforce. But every single person on this planet is harmed by not being able to breathe, and some people are harmed by having to make other arrangements for their dogs during the workday. I hate dogs in offices (and in stores and festivals and anywhere other than in your own home or a place where every single person has consented to it being there) but while OP suffers an actual, perceptible harm from this perk, other people will if she ends up needing an accommodation that removes the dogs. That’s not the same as not telling off-color jokes, not by a long shot.

            There seems very, very little purpose, as laid out in the letter, to regard this as OP’s only chance at a job, and without that information, my statement is “the changes you will need are too big to request even though you are legally entitled to them; look elsewhere for work.” If this is the only employer in OP’s city, or the only one hiring her role, or the only one not in a listed building so with elevator access for OP’s (hypothetical) wheelchair, that changes my answer … but those conditions weren’t laid out in the letter. This is too big a task to take on, even if I personally would like to see no dogs at all in offices, other than service dogs.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              Though it’s also possible that the three people bringing in dogs are all flakes that the company would happily see the back of. It’s certainly not likely to be every single person, and there are quite possibly people who’d be delighted to see the end of the dog-in-office policy.

              Reply
              1. Dankar

                I don’t know that it’s even helpful to the OP to speculate about who would leave, whether this would result in turnover, etc.

                Anecdotally, I have a friend who’s applied to multiple jobs at the same company over the last few years. She wants to be there because they have office dogs (a rarity in our field). And she’s a cat owner!

                Reply
                1. fposte

                  I agree with you that speculation isn’t worth a ton of time, since the reality could be all kinds of things, but think it’s okay to allow for the possibilities in the discussion, since they’re part of what the OP would be facing.

                  I love dogs, and I’ve worked with office dogs. I found it varied–it really depended on the individual dogs and the office rules of behavior–but I can see making it a plus in a job search.

              2. Gigglewater

                The scenario I keep bumping up against in my mind is women who demanded change in misogynistic workplaces. For example, a company used to look the other way when the male partners went to strip clubs and then one of the women says “no more” and gets a policy changed. Suddenly the partners are getting reprimanded for their extracurriculars and so some of them leave, other workers leave because “the culture’s changed too much” and some people stick around but make the woman’s professional life tough. Eventually it normalizes and that woman ends up sticking it out but other women decide it’s too much and end up leaving.

                That woman who made the decision to ask for the policy to be changed would have had to make a calculation when she first made the decision of whether changing the culture was worth the likely difficult professional road. High earners may have left the company but eventually the culture will normalize. In this case I think it’s much easier to morally land on the fact that she did the right thing here so I understand it’s not a perfect 1-t0-1 but my point is that for the LW there is a similar decision to be made, if this choice is worth the potentially difficult professional road and a likely culture shift while the work culture re-normalizes. People who lift the company up and who you look up to might choose to move on because of this perk loss – you will fundamentally shift the culture and dynamic of the company. And that might be ok, but you have to be aware of all of it before you decide to sign-up for it.

                Reply
                1. serenity

                  Come on, that’s not a fair analogy to make at all. Dogs in the workplace ≠ problem culture which should/must be changed.

                2. Gigglewater

                  @serenity I think what i said was poorly worded. I agree that “Dogs in the workplace ≠ problem culture which should/must be changed.” It was moreso that in both cases there are costs for pursuing the change and from we can saw we’ve seen historically wrt problem culture which should/must be changed – the costs can be high and be fraught but also that ultimately there comes a point when the culture shift normalizes. So in this case, there may be a high cost personally but also eventually the new culture shift can normalize and if the OP decides to pursue this job that should also be thought about. Analogy maybe was the wrong word to choose, my point is that culture shifts do happen in the workplace and here is an example of one and how it played it out. I’m not saying the OP should take this job but the fact that a culture shift can happen hasn’t been stated a lot so far.

                3. Temperance

                  This analogy is unfair because it’s assuming that liking dogs is the same thing as being a sexist.

                4. Truth-teller

                  My ability to bring my dog to work is not remotely the same thing as going to a strip club. It is more like company-provided child care that you want to take away. Your comparison is outrageously offensive.

                5. Lara

                  This is a HUGELY problematic comparison. Having a dog is not the same as being a horrific misogynist, and having an allergy is not the same as being a feminist trailblazer. Come on.

                6. Gigglewater

                  I clearly put my foot in it here and so I’d like to apologize. Thank you for graciously pointing it out.

                7. Someone

                  While the comparison is problematic, you actually make a good point: Even in the case where everybody agrees that the culture is horrible, you still end up with the backlash of being the person who took away the perk.
                  (In the example you cited, I’d probably let some newspapers or such know that this company has this, uh, “interesting” perk, and then stay away from that company unless I absolutely had to take that job.)

                8. Lara

                  Sorry Gigglewater; i didn’t see your reply to Serenity and didn’t mean to pile on.

                9. Creag an Tuire

                  @Serenity, I think the point is that even in a gross situation like the analogy above, we’d still be advising the OP to think about the likely social consequences of “changing the culture” and whether that’s worth it to her to accept.

                  The difference is that, for the strip-club workplace, the OP might decide it’s worth it, because a) misogyny is everywhere so “just work someplace else” isn’t a good option and b) because This Shit Won’t Stand and changing it is worth the suffering.

                  Most posters are assuming neither is the case for this OP — there are probably other jobs without dogs and a dog-friendly office is not by itself morally odious. OP should probably just write this off.

                  (Though if this isn’t true for some reason — like this is the only employer in her field she can find without moving — well, ADA away. But still be aware that it’ll be a hard road for you.)

          2. Falling Diphthong

            I would say that about a job with a terrible commute; why not say it about becoming the hated office pariah?

            Sometimes jobs are great except for this one dealbreaker, and the dealbreaker means you shouldn’t take them.

            Reply
      6. Temperance

        She absolutely would. Even if that wasn’t her official title, I think most people would be able to figure out that they had this perk up until LW was hired.

        Reply
      7. Juli G.

        But she might be seen that way. That’s out of her control, your control, everyone’s control.

        See the example up thread about kids being banned for an immunocompromised hire. It’s perfectly reasonable to accommodate the employee but you can’t control how she’s viewed or if other good talents exit because of it.

        People often tell me “I don’t want to be the reason Fergus gets fired” when they tell me something inappropriate Fergus did. And I assure them they aren’t the reason, Fergus is. But if Fergus gets fired and it’s assumed Jane ratted him out, coworkers might not have lunch with Jane anymore. They might not say good morning or good night. They might blame her for Fergus being gone.

        OP has the right to take the job and ask for an accommodation but it might affect her ability to have the relationships she wants – or not, if she’s not into mixing work and social relationships.

        Reply
        1. Hapless Bureaucrat

          Right. I think people are responding to the implication from OP that this job is a great fit. They’re trying to point out that if getting the job requires others to change their long-established culture, it’s not a great fit at all because there WILL be social and work relationship implications regardless of whether there should be.

          Now the job may still be A fit and that’s all the OP is looking for. A job any job and they’ll take the consequences. Or all things considered the job is better than not. But I do think it’s fair to point out that if the OP is interested in this job because they perceive it as a great fit, that they may want to look at work dynamics and factor that in.

          Reply
    3. Close Bracket

      As I said above:

      I made the choice to stop applying at my target company because their corporate culture would be unaccepting of my autism. A disability should not automatically *not* be a criterion for deciding whether to work somewhere *just* because it’s a disability.

      Reply
      1. Autumn anon

        I’m having trouble understanding what you mean by ‘A disability should not automatically *not* be a criterion for deciding whether to work somewhere *just* because it’s a disability’; do you think you you explain further/differently?

        Reply
        1. Sometimes yes, sometimes no

          If I read correctly, they don’t believe you should just ignore a disability when looking for jobs even if ADA meant you’d get accommodated if you were to be hired.

          My words:

          In other words, having a disability isn’t a get out of jail free card to do whatever you want wherever you want. There really has to be some understanding on the part of the disabled in choosing where they are going to be.

          LW is highly allergic to dogs and applying to a company that has a publicised dog friendly office. Why? Yes, if it rises to the level of ADA accommodation, the company likely will work to make it happen. But LW will be uncomfortable if it’s not the total banning of dogs. The office will be uncomfortable if they suddenly lose this rare perk. The bosses are put in an impossible position trying to accommodate LW without making their current employee base disgruntled. Why is LW applying here? How much more valuable is this place, and this job, than any other?

          The answer might be “Very.” It might be the dream job with this one tiny problem that they are entitled to see addressed so that they can pursue their life’s work. It might just be a really good job at a time when the LW really needs to make a move. Sure. Fine.

          But it’s still incumbent on LW to be aware of the impact, and to consider the pros/cons very carefully. It sucks, but it is what it is.

          I have my own (invisible) disability. My work options are not so limited thanks to my living in a very big city, but they ARE limited once I get down to finding the ones that can accommodate me without a massive culture shift. I accept this, and I choose to stay here despite this city’s many shortcomings so that I can make this decision. I’m lucky I can do that, for sure. But, having this choice, I won’t go into a new job saying “Well, everything’s perfect, but this office culture perk conflicts with my accommodations so out it goes!” because I don’t want that hanging on me, my new bosses, or my new coworkers.

          Reply
        2. Close Bracket

          I mean that it is perfectly valid, depending on both the disability and the workplace, to suggest to somebody else or to decide for yourself that a disability makes you a bad fit for a given workplace. I gave my personal bc it’s somewhat similar to dog allergies. Autism can be disabling, and I would be covered under ADA, but I would rather just not work somewhere where I’m not going to be accepted and included even though skillwise I’m a terrific fit for my target company. I’m self-selecting out based on a disabling culture, and it’s a logical and reasonable decision. Likewise for OP. Self-selecting out due to a dog-heavy environment is logical and reasonable and should be on the table as an option.

          Reply
          1. jo

            This is reasonable. Even if I live in a state with great employment protections for LGBT people, I’m not likely to be happy in a workplace where most of my coworkers–or, dog forbid, my superiors–shun me after I mention my same-sex partner. And I definitely wouldn’t apply to a place where I know in advance that the culture is like that, if I had any other options. I would be miserable in a workplace where I’m kept on and tolerated only because the law requires it, over an aspect of myself that I cannot change and shouldn’t have to hide. I’d rather be comfortable at work than be right.

            Fortunately for me and for the OP, most workplaces won’t make us choose! They should find one, to protect their own sanity if for no other reason.

            Reply
  3. k.k

    One thing I would like to point out is that if there have been dogs in the office daily for a while, “sanitizing” to the point that it won’t set off allergies may not be possible. Especially since there are a lot of dog owners who are tracking hair/dander back with them every day. Dog hair and dander hides in every little nook and cranny. This depends on how sensitive your allergies are of course, but I wanted to point it out just in case.

    Reply
    1. Avacado

      And what if a seeing eye dog is there for a real disability?

      Allergies are not a disability. This is dangerous slopes to even argue it is.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        Then you accommodate both, and you don’t really know the extent of the allergy, so it’s perfectly fine to discuss it.

        Reply
      2. essEss

        Your statement that “allergies are not a disability” is legally incorrect. They are FEDERALLY classified as a disability under the federal ADA rulings. http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-allergies-and-the-american-with-disabilities-act.aspx

        As a person who will stop breathing if I’m in a room with an animal for more than a couple hours, an allergy is not just some inconvenience. I will die, plain and simply. That said, my allergy is so severe that I know that an animal-friendly office will be unable to clean itself up enough to allow me to work there. However, if the job was a perfect job otherwise, I would still reach out and start the interview process to see if there were possible alternatives, such as teleworking, or they might have another office nearby.

        Reply
        1. LSP

          I have a friend who can have pretty severe reactions to spending too much time in a room with a cat. He came to my house one time for a party and forgot his inhaler. He could have died. Actually died.

          If that doesn’t count as a disability, what are your standards?

          Reply
          1. Shawn

            LSP…you said your friend is allergic to cats. Well, I think we can make the assumption that he won’t knowingly walk into a place that has cats. Right? The OP already knows this is a dog-friendly office. I doubt someone is forcing her to apply there.

            Reply
        2. At the Timberline

          +1000. This is my best friend’s world exactly.
          If it’s an environment where the presence of animals is not essential to the job/product/service, which is the case for most office environments, it’s entirely reasonable to interview and have the conversation.

          Reply
      3. CatCat

        The employer doesn’t get to decide what is a “real disability.” The employer is not a judge at the “who has the most ‘real’ disability Olympics.” If there are two employees have disabilities that falls within the scope of the ADA, then the employer has to work at accommodating both.

        Reply
      4. Lynca

        People have allergies severe enough to cause anaphylaxis. So yes it can rise to the level of a disability that needs accommodation under the law.

        They’re just as real as blindness or any other impairment.

        Reply
      5. Observer

        Allergies most definitely CAN be a disability under the law – they can definitely be a condition that seriously interferes with normal activities of daily life. (eg breathing)

        Reply
      6. Avacado

        I would like one person to show me an actual case of anaphalaxis from dogs.

        Cats different. There are no seeing eye cats. Can you not work in any office anywhere or take a train or go to teh mall? What about all the people with dog fur on their belongings?

        Reply
        1. essEss

          Anaphylaxis is not the only possible serious allergic reaction to an animal. I just did a google search and found that while actual “anaphylactic shock” might not occur from a dog normally (although it does say that there have been isolated cases), “People with severe allergies to dogs may experience hives, sneezing, itching, and trouble breathing when coming into contact with a dog after a few minutes.” http://dogtime.com/lifestyle/56357-can-die-dog-allergy
          The fact that allergies are qualified as disability under ADA is a fact. Arguing over whether you consider someone’s allergies to be ‘serious enough’ when you aren’t the one living through the results of the allergic reaction is really unkind. The person who has the allergy (and their doctor) would be the ones to determine how much accommodation they need.
          In my experience, I cannot sit next to a person that has animal hair (including dog hair) on their clothes for very long. Within half an hour, I start experiencing itching/running eyes and nose, and within an hour I will start wheezing when I breathe. Once the wheezing starts, I must leave the area and get fresh air or I will end up needing to go to the emergency room. Fortunately, most people aren’t covered in their pet hair, or they are encountered for only short periods of time. I can buy some time (maybe a couple hours) if I take a Zyrtec-D or other allergy medication so I can sustain contact for a little longer, but that does not solve the problem.

          Reply
        2. Observer

          I’m not going to post links, but if you google it, it apparently does happen. Not frequently, of course. But happens.

          And, as others have said, anaphylaxis is not the only dangerous allergic reaction that can happen.

          Reply
    2. LavaLamp

      This. My bag and coat are regularly washed but I have an Aussie Shepard and a German Shepard. They have hair. It gets everywhere. Boyfriend has 3 cats, one of which tries to sleep in my purse. I do my best to keep the hair to a minimum and have a faux leather office chair to minimize the issue, but even without dogs or cats in my office I have a lot of hair on my person that just isn’t going to go away. Especially when said German Shepard thinks he’s a cat and tries to nap in the dryer.

      Reply
      1. MechanicalPencil

        Oh that visual is beautiful; I’d love to see that occur.

        Both of my dogs sleep on the clothes I lay out when I’m getting ready in the morning, so even though they’re “nonshedders”, I still get random stray bits of loose hair/dander. And they also enjoy laying on my clean laundry when I’m folding/putting away. Basically everything is a bed to them. Jerks.

        Reply
        1. LavaLamp

          It is kind of hilarious. He also helps by pulling things out of the washer after watching me do it once. And he thinks dryer sheets are tasty and I have to yank one away from him every time I do laundry.

          Reply
      2. Amber T

        That’s super adorable.

        And yeah, my office is not a pet friendly office, but my office in particular is covered in cat fur, even though I make it a point to use a sticky roll before I leave my apartment and when I get into the office. Others in the office are the same. I minimize it as best I can, but it exists.

        Reply
      3. Nita

        My dog has been gone for seven years. I recently looked inside a ten-year-old pair of shoes (they’re steel-toes and lasted a really long time). What do you know? Dog hair. I’ve even found the occasional dog hair on old woolen clothing that’s been through many, many rounds of laundry in the last few years. So… I can’t really imagine that an office which has been dog-friendly for a long time can be sanitized to the point of being OK for someone with a severe allergy. It may be beyond what’s considered a “reasonable accommodation.”

        Reply
    3. Lynca

      Yeah this isn’t like someone that has a pet at home and brings in stray dander/hair. If they’ve been in the office long term, sanitizing could be a huge expense. I’m specifically thinking about carpet and upholstery.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        Oh gosh, it might cost some money to ensure that people who are otherwise capable of working are allowed to reasonably join the workforce!

        This is called “calling in a service to dust and shampoo the carpets during the weekend”, something that goes on in lots of offices all around the world on a regular basis.

        Reply
        1. k.k

          My point was that even if the company happily spends time and money trying to fix the problem, OP might still have issues if their allergy is severe. If there has been long-term dog exposure in the office, dusting and shampooing some carpets isn’t going to fix it. I was pointing it out because even if they are very accommodating, it might take a while before OP is comfortable in the office. Just something for them to consider.

          Reply
        2. CmdrShepard4ever

          They are not being prevented from joining the workforce they are being prevented from joining the workforce at this specific job there are many other companies that don’t allow dogs.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Your ability to have your pets at work is much less important than the OP’s ability to take a job.

            Reply
            1. Delphine

              There’s nothing to indicate that this one company perk is making it more difficult for OP to find employment.

              Reply
            2. Calliope

              Losing the ability to have pets at work may be a barrier to their owners’ ability to keep their job. It is not automatically “much less important.”

              Reply
            3. A day in the zoo

              Totally depends on your perspective. For some pet people, their pets are their family. OP is a stranger to that those pet people people. Many people will put their family’s needs before a stranger’s need.

              Reply
        3. Jadelyn

          Again, OP not working at this company is not in any way tantamount to banning OP from the workforce entirely, and I don’t understand why you consistently keep misrepresenting it that way. Dog-friendly offices are the exception, not the norm. Saying “This company lets employees bring their dogs in, therefore I wouldn’t be able to comfortably work there,” is not at all saying “I will never be able to work anywhere ever again because of the existence of this one specific dog-friendly workplace!” Which is what you seem determined to frame it as.

          Reply
            1. fposte

              Yeah, I really don’t like that. I totally understand that it’s a real burden on dog owners to change, but I’m a lot more comfortable with barriers to dog ownership in the workplace than barriers to disabilities.

              Reply
            2. Jadelyn

              Having an open office plan is putting up unnecessary barriers to people with certain mental health issues that can’t cope well with that sort of environment. Is the existence of companies who have open office plans putting up unnecessary barriers to the rest of us being able to work, then?

              Reply
        4. Penny Lane

          I think you’re somewhat ignorant about dog allergies. Having someone dust and shampoo the carpets over the weekend is not sufficient if people are bringing dogs in on a daily basis. I know you love to play devil’s advocate, but come on now.

          This is a cultural fit issue.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            I didn’t say it was the only thing that needed to be done, only that much of the mitigation can be taken care of very easily. I had assumed that folks reading my post would understand that there are in fact other mitigation products and procedures on the market and that I wouldn’t have to research them all, list them here to avoid getting nitpicked.

            /Want to take a guess who’s grandfather owned a commercial janitorial company and had to work there for several years? We did this sort of thing all the time, it’s not magic.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              You really don’t know that – as others noted it may not be enough to do a routine shampoo and cleaning.

              Reply
              1. fposte

                Sure, but it also may be, or it may be not much more. I don’t think we should treat cleaning as an insuperable obstacle without more support for that contention.

                Reply
                1. Doe-Eyed

                  I think they’re being reasonable. Dander gets into carpet padding. If someone is truly that allergic to dogs, tearing up the carpet is probably on the table.

                2. Observer

                  True. I’m just making the point that we don’t have anywhere near enough information to really estimate what is involved.

        5. nonegiven

          DH went to a doctor one time. He’d showered and put on clean clothes but sat and watched tv before leaving. As soon as the doctor walked into the room he started sneezing violently, non stop. The doctor apologized, saying he didn’t know why he had started sneezing. DH said, “You aren’t allergic to cats are you?” Yes the doctor was very allergic to cats and a very clean room that a cat had never been in wasn’t enough to keep DH from walking in trailing a cloud of cat dander that was enough to set the guy’s allergies off.

          Reply
      2. Pebbles

        Even with stray dander/hair it can be a serious issue for someone with a severe allergy! Many years ago I had a coworker in the cube next to me. My workplace does not allow us to bring pets in, yet my coworker had difficulties breathing to the point where he started wearing a mask at work. All because I have a cat and the coworker on the opposite side of him had two cats, and the dander/hair that we were bringing in was enough to trigger his allergies. The office tried to deep clean our cubes on a regular basis, both myself and the other cat owner tried to be mindful of our clothes, but it wasn’t helping. Why he wasn’t moved to another area I don’t know, but imagine for this OP in this workplace where EVERY cube potentially has dander/hair. There would be no place to move the OP to that could be dander free even if all the pets were removed.

        Reply
        1. RaccoonLady

          Yep- my mom is now pretty allergic to cats and extremely allergic to rodents. When we were looking st houses for her, we sometimes just walked into one and she would go “nope, they had cats, I can feel the allergies”. And it would be a vacant home that had had all the carpets cleaned and everything! The solution would have been to remove all the carpet (expensive).
          I’m not saying the company would have to do that, or that they would be unwilling to, but it would be something they would need to consider.

          Reply
          1. A.

            Yes when I was house hunting, I could always tell which homes had cats. Even if the cats were not present at the time. I am very allergic to cats and my eyes would start itching right away.

            Reply
      3. essEss

        To get rid of the animal dander to *reasonably* have a chance to stop allergic reactions when the office has been allowing animals for a long time and the person has a serious allergy, you also have to have all the air ducts cleaned out, and any furnace filters/air filters replaced, and the walls wiped down, and any cloth surfaces steam cleaned.

        If there is carpet, the carpet would need to be removed and replaced. We bought a house that had a pet in it before we lived there, and we had to remove the carpets and there were PILES of animal hair under the carpet.

        After we bought the house, that was the minimum we had to do in order for me to stop going into an asthmatic allergic reaction in less than an hour after walking into the new house. Until then, I couldn’t move in (I didn’t have a choice about buying the house, so we needed to find a way to get it clean enough to breathe in).

        Reply
        1. essEss

          For the case of the OP, we don’t know the severity of her allergy AND it is possible that the employer would have a way of accommodating the OP that didn’t involve needing to clean the existing office, ie- remote working, or they have offices in another building. So all of this arguing over depth of cleaning might not apply to the OP.

          Reply
  4. wat

    okay, what? how is this a great fit for you if you’re allergic to dogs and the office is dog friendly? say you get the job and dogs are now banned… then everyone will hate you. or you get the job, dogs aren’t banned, the allergy shots don’t work, and you’re miserable. why are you willing to go through with this?

    Reply
    1. Amber T

      Well, there’s more to a job than one perk. OP could be referencing how it utilizes their skill set, how close it is to home, how their salary/benefits compare to what their currently getting, etc.

      Reply
      1. Eplawyer

        This ignores all the people already working there for whom being able to bring their dog in was one of the factors they considered in taking the job. THEY might leave if its taken away.

        Allergies suck. They aren’t your fault. But if you know a job will trigger them, then maybe the culture of the office is not for you. I know when you are job searching opting from a place that actually gave you an interview can be demoralizing. But nothing as demoralizing as taking a job where you just don’t fit in.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          Is it not the prerogative of management to change working conditions as they see fit, especially if those changes are to ensure legal compliance with federal law?

          Reply
          1. Temperance

            I mean, sure, but it’s going to really hurt LW’s reputation at the company, and she should be realistic.

            Reply
          2. Observer

            Sure, but any good management does so very carefully and with the understanding that it can have significant consequences. Which also means that it may not necessarily be required by the law.

            Reply
          3. Starbuck

            If I were OP, I would not want to start a job by telling my boss, and my boss’s boss, etc. that they could not bring their own dog to work anymore. Regardless of how right I might be to do that, I can’t imagine trying to have an amicable working relationship with someone after starting it out like that. I think it’s reasonable for people to warn OP about this possibility and strongly recommend against it. Ultimately they get to decide if the risk of having their coworkers and supervisors resent them is worth it, and from past letters about this issue it seems like the consensus is that it probably isn’t!

            Reply
            1. Mike C.

              People who need these accommodations don’t have the choice, that’s why there are federal protections.

              Reply
              1. Starbuck

                Right but we don’t know if OP actually needs this accommodation, or just wants it for the sake of their comfort (in the case of minor allergies). Yes, of course if they exercise their ADA rights if their allergy rises to the level of a disability they are federally protected from retaliation, but they’re not protected from their coworkers and managers resenting them. Maybe they can live with that, but I think it’s sensible to warm them of this possible consequence. If I was facing that choice, I’d opt out. I’m not trying to suggest OP should do something that I myself would not do.

                Reply
          4. Falling Diphthong

            If any manager wrote to Alison saying “We are going to take away a perk that is important to a lot of our employees BUT we are legally allowed to do this so there won’t be any problems, obviously” the commenters would laugh themselves silly.

            And it’s one thing to sell “federal regulations now say no kegs; we have to comply” and another to sell “we hired Wakeen, and federal regulations say that if he doesn’t like kegs no more kegs; we have to comply.”

            Reply
        2. Genny

          This is pretty unfair to the LW. Why should she have to opt out of a job that she’s both qualified for and would advance her career because of something that may be covered by the ADA? Why does everyone else’s perk take priority over LW’s health?

          Perks come and go all the time. Might the company lose some people over this? Maybe. Might they already be losing people with allergies? Probably.

          Reply
          1. MuseumChick

            This. Plus, we don’t even know how severe the OP’s allergies are. There could be all kinds of ways the company can work with her to create a comfortable environment.

            Reply
      2. Angela Ziegler

        I see it similar to finding ‘the PERFECT job, except for (long commute/ limited benefits/ weekend/evening hours/ open floor plan)’ There’s usually something that sticks out that you don’t like, and it’s normal to have to decide if it’s big enough to pass on the offer. It sounds like OP is in the same situation, just like if you lived 2 hours away and moving wasn’t an option due to circumstances.

        Reply
        1. Jadelyn

          Yes, but in those cases, you’d have to decide if you want to pursue it or not, and then you would bear the consequences of that one undesirable aspect yourself. You’d decide, okay, I can deal with a 2 hour commute – you wouldn’t take the job and then insist that they relocate their office. In this circumstance, the proposed solution is one that is imposed on the company and all the other employees, rather than the person who chose to take the job despite the undesirable factor.

          Reply
          1. Future Analyst

            Yes, absolutely. It’s one thing to take a job knowing that there’s something you don’t like, but you can tolerate it. It’s another to take it and demand everyone else changes what they’re doing. The latter may sometimes be the right thing to do, but one shouldn’t go into it blindly.

            Reply
        2. Nita

          It does sound similar in a way. People opt out of chasing the “perfect” job for all kinds of reasons.

          Reply
    2. I'll come up with a clever name later.

      It’s interesting. This was my initial thought as I read the letter but then I read some of the comments above and how it would apply to other disabilities. Would I tell my friend who is confined to a wheelchair not to apply to her dream job at her dream company just because the company was located on the top floor of a 12 story walk-up that included use of the rooftop pool and free lunch for their employees? No. I would tell her that she should go for it and that the company would figure it out if she was the right fit for the job. It would suck if the company couldn’t find a work around that could make all parties happy, but that’s the fault of the company and not the employee with the disability. It’s important to make sure the blame is laid at the feet of the correct party – and in this case, it’s not the LW.

      Reply
      1. Magee

        I’m the same with you. I think the only way this will work is for the OP to disclose now that they are allergic to dogs and ask what reasonable accommodations can be made for that. And then the OP and the company can decide if it makes sense to go forward in the hiring process based on that conversation. I don’t think it’s fair for the OP to think that a reasonable accommodation is that dogs are no longer allowed in the office and the building be sanitized. That is a lot of expense for one single employee, especially a brand new one. And a lot of demoralization for employees currently bringing in their dogs.

        Reply
        1. I'll come up with a clever name later.

          But, again, it’s up to the company to decide. If the company decided to bring the OP on and decided that they would sanitize the building and ban the dogs for the right person, then the OP isn’t at fault.

          Reply
          1. Starbuck

            Not technically, but you can bet other coworkers who enjoy this perk will resent her (rightly or indeed, wrongly) for causing it to be taken away. Depending on how important it is for you to get along with coworkers, that risk might not be worth it.

            Reply
          2. SignalLost

            Of course not. I’m not seeing much (any?) statement that anyone thinks the OP willfully got allergies and willfully decided to only pursue employment at places that are dog-friendly – there is no point where any of this is her “fault”. But proceeding with a hiring process with a pretty major stumbling block that you know about now without putting it on the table for both parties to decide whether they can make a reasonable accommodation WOULD be her fault, in my opinion. A lot of the things this is getting compared to (say, a long commute) are things that I and only I have to decide about – if I don’t love a 90 minute commute but the job offers everything else I want, I have to decide if I want to take it knowing it hits a pretty big deal-breaker for me. But this isn’t something that just means I as the employee have to get up at 4 AM and spend a lot of time in the car – this is something where the company also needs to be on-board with it.

            I felt that the company that didn’t tell the employee they were dog-friendly (and ultimately blamed her for losing the dogs, even though it was actually a directive by the CEO due to accidents on the rug and the like) was dishonest in negotiating with the employee because they didn’t let her know about this major, major element of company culture. I feel like this employee would be similarly dishonest to not disclose the allergy issue and see what the company wants to do about it/can do about it BEFORE accepting a job with them, mostly because it does impact so many people in any potential resolution. It’s not the same as needing a screen reader to be able to do my job; that only impacts me assuming I use headphones. But I’m a big fan of stating the elephant in the room and dealing with it as soon as appropriate, and encouraging this company to invest in their hiring process with the OP without this information and with the need for accommodation is kind of unfair. Because this would impact so many people, I think it’s more important to disclose it up front than to wait for an offer, even though legally she has the right not to disclose. It doesn’t sound, from the letter, like the OP can just take Zyrtec on the downlow and no one will know she has allergies.

            Reply
      2. Hapless Bureaucrat

        Not all disabilities are equivalent, though, which is why the ADA requires individual solutions and reasonable accomodations. In the case of the person in the wheelchair the company isn’t required to stop providing perks to others.
        There’s also a difference between the legal right to apply and work someplace, and whether something will practically work.
        Yeah the OP could get the job, make an ADA request, successfully have all the dogs leave, and not be to blame for any of it. And her now dog-less coworkers could still resent her even if ther company managers make their best attempts to avoid that. This would be a really hard social situation to manage and that’s a lot of faith and political capital to put on the line in a new working relationship. (Especially since, as others have pointed out, ther company may not be able to clean the office well enough to get the sander out and are well within their rights to declare doing so too expensive to be a reasonable accomodation. Companies aren’t required to make ANY POSSIBLE accomodation after all.)
        Maybe if OP is desperate for work and there are few options in her field it makes sense to take the risk, but it is a risk. Personal dynamics in work are fraught enough that most of the questions on AAM deal with them. It’s absolutely worth weighing.
        In this case, I’d say it makes sense to disclose up front. Maybe there IS an easy solution. Or maybe OP at least finds out in advance that there’s dog dander ground into all the cracks and this is a historic building so it’d take three years and several million to renovate.

        Reply
    3. MechanicalPencil

      As an aside, allergy shots take time to build up enough immunity. You’re injecting yourself with the item(s) you’re allergic to so you build up an immunity to it. You start with small amounts and then build up to larger quantities so you (hopefully) become immune. When I did this many moons ago, it took several years to become effective.

      Reply
      1. School Psych

        Yep. I started allergy shots about 7 months ago and it takes around 9 months to start building up immunity and you don’t start really feeling a difference until you start your monthly shots in year 2. There’s also a small, but very real risk that you will have a serious reaction to your shot at some point in the process. My allergy shot that I had earlier this week triggered an asthma attack that didn’t respond to my usual medication and required multiple epipens to be administered, 30 minutes on a nebulizer and hours of observation in the hospital to make sure I didn’t react again once the meds started wearing off. I don’t think it would be appropriate for a workplace to suggest she do this so she could tolerate the dog friendly work-place better or for her to consider doing this because she really wanted a certain job. Deciding you’re okay with taking the risk of a potential life threatening emergency because your allergies are impacting your life so much is a very personal decision.

        Reply
    4. Mike C.

      Her ability to reasonably work is of much greater importance than everyone else’s ability to bring their dog to work.

      Reply
      1. Temperance

        Serious question: why? Why does her applying for this job supercede the rights of everyone else who already works there?

        Setting aside the ADA issue, does she want to work in a place where she’s going to face social consequences for ending a beloved perk? Does she want to be held responsible if some rockstars at the org jump ship because this perk was the deciding factor here?

        Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          Because we have generally accepted that certain groups of people (women, minorities, those with disabilities) have had and often continue to have a much harder time being treated fairly in the work place. The argument seems to be, if there is an Optional Thing at a work place and you have a disability that Optional Thing effects then Oh well, you’ll just have to find another job instead of discussing with the company if the Optional Thing can be changed.

          Reply
          1. SignalLost

            That’s a really fascinating take, since I feel like we usually see posts more along the lines of “because of my physical limitations I cannot do a team building exercise involving rock climbing, how do I push back?” And Alison gives good advice and the community is generally very supportive! This isn’t actually equivalent in any case, because it’s not like the OP can just opt out of breathing the air that the dogs have been present in, unless the company is willing to change their policies around teleworking. It would be dishonest to accept a job offer and then drop on the employer “by the way, I need this major accommodation that will probably mean added expense for you and also for the other employees and will probably breed resentment because it will entail people losing a perk.” Very, very few people regard rock climbing at work as a perk. Many people evidently regard bringing their dogs to work as a high-priority perk. Pretending that this is the same kind of accommodation that would be needed by a woman who breast-feeds is a bit disingenuous, because that is between the company and the employee. This would be between the company, the employee, and all the other employees too.

            Reply
        2. fposte

          It’s not “their rights,” tout court, it’s their right to have a dog in the workplace. Rights don’t always come in a bundle, and they’re not all equally scored :-). If they had a dog in the workplace for a legally protected reason, the rights would be even and the situation would be negotiated with that understanding, but just because it’s a majority doesn’t mean the right is on their side.

          Whether it’s wise or not is another question.

          Reply
        3. Starbuck

          It’s not a right to have a dog in the workplace though, it’s a privilege that the company can chose to revoke at any time for whatever reason. Excepting service animals, of course.

          Reply
        4. Mike C.

          1. It’s a federal law called the “Americans with Disabilities Act”.

          2. Because to have a stable, functioning society people need to be able to generate an income. If we put up artificial barriers allowing people to work, then we have fewer people that able to care for themselves and their families. Any one of us could suddenly become disabled at any time, these protections are important.

          3. Just because there are social consequences does not mean that they should rule everything, especially when they are unfair, immoral or illegal.

          Reply
      2. MuseumChick

        Agreed. Work is a public space and should be as inclusive as possible. The OP isn’t trying to work at a vets office or any job where interaction with dogs would be a core part of the work. She is trying to make a living in a typical office environment.

        Reply
  5. Wannabe Disney Princess

    I think the approach depends on how bad your allergies are. For example: I’m allergic, but only if I pet the dog and then rub my eyes or something. My eyes just get watery and my nose is congested. My mom, on the other hand, is allergic and it causes her to have an asthma attack.

    If it’s the former, I would bring it up after since that would be easier for everyone to adapt to. If it’s the latter, however, I’d bring it up now. It keeps everyone on equal footing and doesn’t surprise anyone down the line – which would be especially difficult to overcome if it results in a key perk being removed.

    Reply
    1. I'm A Little TeaPot

      problem is that your allergies can morph into your mom’s allergies. Repeated exposure can make things a lot worse.

      Reply
      1. else

        Yes, sadly. :( But allergy shots really are very effective! And most insurance covers them. If their allergies are this mild, and they’re already willing to try shots, I might try mentioning this afterward, and just request that people keep their dogs from nosing into me or my workspace. There’s always THAT person, but most of them will probably try to be considerate about this. IF they’re not mild, on the other hand – this just isn’t the job environment for them.

        Reply
        1. School Psych

          See my post above about the life-threatening emergency I just experienced because of my allergy shots. They are effective for lots of people, but also have some potential scary risks. I don’t think the investment of time needed to do allergy shots or the potential risks would be worth it for mild allergies that respond to other treatment methods. It is kind of for the OP to decide how much she is willing to go through to make this work environment work for her though.

          Reply
      2. Seriously?

        That’s true, but if the OP is relying on ADA to force accommodations, then it will probably be based on her current allergic response.

        Reply
      3. Amber T

        Repeated exposure can also make it better/easier to deal with. I’m allergic to cats, but having grown up with them and never really strayed too far from home for too long until I went to college, it was only discovered when I came home for Thanksgiving break my freshman year (and every break after that). My symptoms were more of WDP’s first example so YMMV of course.

        Reply
        1. Mystery Bookworm

          Yeah, I’ve known a number of people whose allergies improved after exposure (and isn’t that sort of the principle allergy shots work on?)

          Reply
  6. hypothetical

    “And legally, your right to breathe at work will trump other employees’ right to have their dogs there, even if they and their dogs were there first.”

    What if the dogs are service dogs? I have a lot of blind coworkers who have guide dogs that they bring to work every day; would they have to get rid of their dogs if we hired someone with a dog allergy? That doesn’t seem fair…

    Reply
    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Nope, then you have dueling accommodations and they’d need to work to try to solve them both. They’d have to engage in the interactive process with each employee to determine what would be a reasonable accommodation for each.

      Reply
      1. Free Meerkats

        I’m going to put out a hypothetical here for comment, totally unrelated to the current question.

        Situation, small lab of 30 employees, so remote work is not possible and ADA applies. New employee has a service dog for a seizure disorder, current employee is deathly allergic to dogs.

        I don’t see a possible reasonable accommodation that would keep both these people employed by this company.

        Reply
          1. Biff

            Most labs are open rooms with workstations, due to the fact that they require all kinds of protocol to be followed. I’m surprised a dog is allowed in the lab at all.

            Reply
        1. Hapless Bureaucrat

          Sometimes, no reasonable accomodation can be made. In that case yes, one of the employees probably has to stop working there (assuming it’s not possible to keep one area dander-free).
          If you’re asking who does the company “side” with, the current employee who probably never had to disclose till now, or the new one who had no way of knowing the situation?
          Man, I dunno. This is why ADA lawyers exist.

          Reply
          1. JSPA

            The requirement to accommodate is far less rigorous than I had assumed, even when there isn’t a direct conflict between competing claims.

            See

            https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=28be4f92-b48f-4bde-ac3d-864e35874a0d

            When there are competing claims, the end result seems to be that the person who can’t be accommodated may get a chance for a sizable but not life-changing settlement. However, this has really only been tested in a case where a) the person in question was not aware that her new paprika sniffer dog (which saved her from near fatal allergy attacks) would be a problem for a coworker with a similarly extreme dog allergy and b) the company put her on unpaid leave, so that she was not eligible for unemployment. Additionally, this was government, not the private sector. The payout was $85,000.

            https://www.discourse.net/2010/05/this_case_has_moot_court_written_all_over_it/

            https://adata.org/content/indianapolis-officials-settle-lawsuit-over-paprika-sniffing-dog

            Reply
        2. Cary E Thomson

          I’m basing this on my understanding of Canadian Employment and Human Rights law, and also, this is a really off the top of my head reply but the dog likely can’t be in the workplace. Yes, the employer will be discriminating against the potential new employee, but employers can discriminate if making an accommodation creates an undue hardship. Assuming the current employee can’t work around dogs then and there’s no reasonable way to separate the two then the employer is making a reasonable choice if it says it can’t have the dog in the workplace.

          Actually, I think I’d handle it by letting the new employee know that they can’t bring the dog into the workplace due to a current employee’s medical condition, and asking if they want to continue with their candidacy?

          Reply
  7. Roscoe

    I definitely think you need to bring this up now. Because I don’t think its fair to expect them to change their work office for you, since you know going in that people bring in their dogs. By you knowing that, its allowing you to opt out now. This isn’t like you would be finding out your first day. That may just mean culture wise, you aren’t a good fit for that place.

    While I don’t have a dog, I can definitely understand people being really upset that they took a job where they knew people brought in their dog everyday, and then they had to change the policy

    Reply
    1. Mike C.

      Actually, it’s perfectly fair and you’re asking the OP to sabotage her own chances at gainful employment so that others can ensure they keep their pets at work. Those are really messed up priorities.

      Reply
      1. Roscoe

        I’m not asking her to sabotage anything. I’m asking her to bring up something that is a BIG deal to her. Just like if it was a BIG DEAL that I get to work from home 3 times a week for whatever reason, I bring that up early to see what the reaction is. I just think its a dick move to know full well the office you are applying at, then wait until you have an offer, and then try to say “legally you have to do this for me” even if that means screwing other people who probably took the job due to this perk

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          If you have her bring it up now, it’s going to lower her chances. It’s no different than expecting young women to tell their employers that they plan on getting pregnant sometime in the future.

          Reply
          1. Starbuck

            No, that’s pretty different. Yikes, these comparisons seem to be getting out of hand. Pregnancy is a legally protected condition. Dog allergies? Maybe, maybe not though!

            Reply
          2. Lara

            It’s completely different. Planning on getting pregnant doesn’t mean the company has to expend money and goodwill adapting the office and revoking a perk other people enjoy. Apart from minimal time off, it does not affect the employer or her colleagues.

            Reply
      2. Cacwgrl

        From the employer standpoint, it’s not really that messed up. If my entire workforce is happy with the perk, then one person makes that one perk go away and my employees are forced to either give up a morale boosting perk or leave, odds are, they’ll leave. Now I have to backfill many positions versus one. And this is the type of situation that makes me feel like it’s no longer a reasonable accommodation.

        I don’t see why OP is determined to pursue the opportunity because it’s really not a good fit. Don’t expect everyone to change their ways for one person. Sometimes, people aren’t good fits for many reason and need to be reasonable about expectations.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          Compliance with federal law >>>>> a perk at work that everyone likes. I don’t understand what’s so difficult about this.

          Reply
          1. Perse's Mom

            Because you’re looking at it as black vs white and completely ignoring all the grey social* and financial** consequence stuff in the middle.

            *OP’s new coworkers WILL resent losing the perk if it comes down to that, which WILL make OP’s work-life harder
            **if it does come down to that, the company WILL lose good employees, which means they foot the bill for replacing those people.

            Reply
          2. Sheltie people

            Federal law may (or may not) say that the dog-friendly workplace has to go. But federal law can’t stop me from letting my furbaby sleep on my bed or climb over me before I go to work. And that’s what I’m going to do every time I have a meeting with this person who took away a perk that means everything to me!

            Reply
            1. mrs__peel

              Seriously?? You think it’s okay to intentionally set off a potentially serious allergic reaction in someone out of petty revenge? That is appalling.

              Reply
      3. Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

        I agree that the OP has the choice to opt out and probably should. There are other jobs/opportunities that are out there. No one is putting dogs above her, however this was a perk that has been offered to the employees so for her to come in with the expectation that the company changes it’s policies for her seems a little self absorbed. Not a good foot to start off on…

        Reply
    2. CynicallySweet7

      +1. Especially if now your possibly future co-workers have to start paying for some kind of doggy- day care. That’s expensive, like I will leave my job expensive depending on where you live. And if OP doesn’t disclose this in the beginning and all dogs have to go away she’s going to be hated. Like if she was up front about it that’s one thing, but you hide this and know it’s going to be a problem going in….your new co-workers will not like you at all

      Reply
      1. Marillenbaum

        That’s a good point. Ideally, if this was the One and Only Job OP Could Get, the employers would be able to find an accommodation that would also allow some element of morale-boosting for other employees who really cared about the dog perk (things like access to money that offsets the cost of dog walkers/day care, or an on-site daycare facility). Odds are, though, that it isn’t likely to happen, which just makes it unpleasant. It doesn’t mean that OP couldn’t, or necessarily shouldn’t, continue to apply, but there can be a real risk to blowback, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone involved is an Evil Person Who Likes Dogs More Than People’s Ability to Earn a Living and Also Breathe.

        Reply
    3. DogMama

      +1, I’m in the middle of interviewing at a dog-friendly office right now and it will be a pretty big perk for me if I get the job, along with the fact that the job is exactly what I’m looking for.

      Reply
    4. Pollygrammer

      I’ve worked at a dog-friendly office. I’m pretty dog-indifferent, myself. Practically the first thing they asked in the interview was if I liked dogs. I’m pretty sure saying “no” would have disqualified me as a candidate.

      What would the OP say? If she says she likes dogs, gets the job and then later uses her legal rights to turn around and have them banned, that’s not illegal behavior but it is damn dishonest IMHO.

      Reply
      1. A.

        And it is a very sure way to alienate her coworkers and supervisors. Ok you have the job but now everyone hates you or is avoiding you. But you are legally correct. That won’t do you much good in day to day interactions.

        Reply
        1. serenity

          It would be nice if the folks splitting hairs on the “Is this covered by the ADA” argument in exhaustive detail pick up on this a little bit. You can certainly have the law behind you and be in bad odor with your co-workers at the very same time. It really, really isn’t fun to feel shunned by colleagues (whether it is reasonable, or not).

          Reply
      2. Susan Sto Helit

        That’s a good point. There’s a good chance that a sensible employer will directly ask in the interview if you’re ok around dogs. At that point you kind of either have to disclose, or lie.

        I’m not sure what the consequences are for lying in a job interview over something like this though.

        Reply
        1. So long and thanks for all the fish

          Probably would be a justified firing- you knowingly lied in the interview.

          Reply
  8. Q without U

    This is one time where “culture fit” could be a legitimate reason for not wanting to hire someone. They have a strong pet-friendly culture where dogs are in the office daily. They will not want someone who is not happy with that culture, regardless of whether it’s due to allergies, fear, or a dislike of dog slobber.

    My question is – why would you want to put yourself in the position of going into a job where you won’t fit in with the culture, when you are lucky enough to know in advance that this is the case?

    Reply
    1. Mike C.

      Why do you expect people with possible disabilities to forgo gainful employment so that others can have their pets at work?

      Reply
      1. The Meepster

        I think you’re glossing over a lot. I am disabled, and there are a lot of places I absolutely can not work because there’s no possible way to accommodate my needs, but the things I can’t work with are not integral to the business. Open concept offices, for example. Or places with a lot of ambient noise. So I have gone to interviews, seen the open plan office, and had to move on. It’s just part and parcel of the whole disability thing. And insisting on an accommodation that would be either significantly change the working environment or that’s seen as a special perk would probably create a lot of resentment in my coworkers, and I wouldn’t stay long in the job anyway. It’s probably better for all if OP doesn’t try to go through with the job.

        Reply
        1. Galatea

          +1

          In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to worry that my medical conditions would interfere with any job, and I certainly COULD make a legal stand over some things, but between the amount of effort on my part to accommodate my issues in a way I would feel safe, the potential fallout, the amount of work I’d have to do — sometimes it’s better/easier/whatever to self-select out.

          Reply
        2. Mike C.

          It’s probably better for all if OP doesn’t try to go through with the job.

          If this is the overwhelming philosophy, then no one would ever have an accommodation.

          Reply
          1. The Meepster

            No, that’s not right. An accommodation is something like a screen reader or a desk in a certain location. Not a fundamental change in the way an employer functions. In my example above (the open plan office), possible accommodations could be an office to myself or remote working. But either of those could sour my coworkers’ view of me if no one else gets those perks. It would not be reasonable to demand a potential employer buy cubicles and completely rearrange their office space to suit me. I’m in the middle of an accommodation negotiation with my employer, and all I’m asking for is something that affects only me. No one else. That’s what real accommodations look like. And people demanding the moon only makes things harder for the next person who needs an accommodation.

            The OP is somewhat akin to the letter about the employer who required people to line up by gender to suit an employees OCD. Yes, disabled people should be accommodated, but the world doesn’t revolve around us. It doesn’t do any good to breed resentment.

            Reply
            1. micromanaged rat

              “It would not be reasonable to demand a potential employer buy cubicles and completely rearrange their office space to suit me.”
              Actually, that seems to be exactly what Mike C is saying – that it would be perfectly reasonable for you to demand that an office change from open plan to cubicles/private offices, because your right to work there supersedes the benefits anyone else gets out of an open plan office.

              Reply
        1. serenity

          The argumentativeness of his comments is really wearying, when he gets going. I’m not sure this particular subject needs to be this fraught with tension.

          Reply
          1. Magee

            Disagreeing is not against the rules, but the rules do specifically say:
            • You don’t have to convince everyone. Consider making your point and moving on. In particular, you don’t need to respond every separate time someone says something you disagree with. And if you are leaving tons of comments all over a particular thread to argue your opinion, I may ask you to pull back so that your voice doesn’t drown out others.

            I may also be running afoul of the rules with this, but it can be hard to try to have a discussion with you when you are so active to shoot down others suggestions. I am all for disagreeing, but do you have to be so hostile about it? Just some food for thought.

            Reply
        2. Davis

          Exqueeze me, but all Mike is doing is arguing that companies need to abide BY FEDERAL LAW and is advocating for disability rights, and you’re quoting commenting rules to him? You’ve got some nerve.

          Reply
      2. CynicallySweet7

        I agree with Q without U. In general I wouldn’t expect someone with disabilities to forgo gainful employment, but 1. we don’t know this qualifies as a disability and 2. It being a disability wouldn’t stop he co-workers from having a real problem with her. And I don’t 100% blame them. If you took this job partially because you could bring it to work that could really easily been interpenetrated as a part of your compensation package, not just as a perk.

        Reply
      3. Flower

        Honestly, as someone with a disability that isn’t visible (and isn’t allergies), I find your spin on this a little weird. There’s plenty of places I wouldn’t apply to work or take a job offer due to my disability, and even those in which accommodations might be able to be made or in which the problem that would crop up is outside of the core job duties. Balancing those priorities is literally part of having a disability. Does it suck sometimes? Well, yeah, it does. In an ideal world would any job be able to accommodate any person? I mean, maybe… but there are jobs that I’ll never be able to do and the world isn’t ideal, so even ones that *should* be able to accommodate me probably won’t, at least not without some combination of either managerial dissatisfaction or grumbling among other employees – and it’s up to me to decide whether or not it’s worth it to deal with those real and potentially likely consequences. I interpret the people outlining the probable consequences of this OP taking the job to say not “you absolutely must xyz” but to say “If I were you, I would xyz” or “Make sure to keep in mind xyz”. What you seem to be saying is that they’re all saying “You and all people like you have to do xyz.”

        Reply
        1. Putting Out Fires, Esq

          +1 I don’t consider this a disability but I’m a 4’10” female. I am not applying for jobs as a lineman for the Green Bay Packers. All people cannot perform all jobs.

          All of this boils down to three things.
          1. What is legal.
          2. What is reasonable.
          3. What is wise.

          LW is probably on solid footing using the ADA. It’s certainly reasonable to say that dogs are not necessary for work in your typical office job. But is it wise to assert your rights in a way that would remove a beloved perk from all your new coworkers, as your introduction to them? Honestly, only LW can answer that. She knows what accommodations she would need and she knows why this job is such an otherwise great fit. Maybe it’s one where coworkers don’t impact your job or job satisfaction. Maybe she can get whatever it is out of it despite angering the dog lovers?

          This is honestly a big part of legal advice that doesn’t get a lot of press. A lot of people ask me what they can do. The real service I provide is talking through what they should do.

          Reply
          1. Gigglewater

            “All of this boils down to three things.
            1. What is legal.
            2. What is reasonable.
            3. What is wise.”

            this should be embroidered on a pillow

            Reply
      4. SimonTheGreyWarden

        I just need to ask: why are you framing it as this is the only job in the world?

        My mom is one of those people who can’t breathe around heavy fragrances. She can’t walk past certain stores at the mall and needed an allergen free workspace. Because of that, she self-selected out of a job once that she thought sounded good, but where she would have had to work apart from her team due to the shared office space and room deodorizers (this was years ago so I don’t recall much).

        Personally, I don’t feel any animal belongs in a work place, and I’m not a dog person. I like them in small doses with other people (was bitten on the face when I was little). I get that it’s a perk for some, but I’m also not defending the idea of having dogs at work.

        Reply
      5. Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

        No one is saying she has to forgo gainful employment. She may just need to find a job somewhere else that is better suited for her. It’s not the only job in the world.

        Reply
      6. Mishsmom

        The fact that the company makes this known shows how important it is to their culture. OP should respect that and go elsewhere.

        Reply
  9. Jen S. 2.0

    It honestly sounds like … this company is actually not a great fit for you. The work may be, but the physical elements of the work environment are not (remember the letter a few months back from the lady left her otherwise great job over parking?). Some critical pieces of it are ideal for you, but other equally important pieces are not. That means that this just may not be your job.

    It’s unfortunate, but it’s life. Sometimes a house that has all the features you want is in the wrong neighborhood. Sometimes the partner who is wonderful and attractive has a dealbreaker quality that makes them not your person. And sometimes the job that sounds great is in the wrong location.

    Reply
    1. Amber T

      This. This could be that one thing that’s just a deal breaker. And that sucks but that’s okay.

      Reply
    2. Mike C.

      No, it’s actually not “life”, that’s why we have laws to ensure reasonable accommodations for those who need them.

      Otherwise I could just as easily have a work culture that has no room for wheelchair ramps.

      Reply
      1. rldk

        You’re really starting to sound ridiculous at this point. A work culture that has no room for ramps? Really? Please take a step back and ask yourself why you’re approaching every single comment that disagrees with you with so much hostility and black-and-white thinking.
        ADA accommodations are important. But what one *can* do or *can* ask for legally doesn’t mean they want to take on any repercussion or side-effects. You’ve made your viewpoint very clear. If OP reads the comments, your opinion will be heard, and she will make her own decision based on the pros and cons many of us have raised.

        Reply
        1. Mike C.

          The only people sounding ridiculous are those that prioritize thhaving their pet at work over the ability of people like the OP to work.

          Reply
          1. Dankar

            Look, a lot of people have said this already, but the only person being unreasonable in this entire thread (and I’m including the OP, all sides of the debate, and the self-admittedly cranky Snark in this) is YOU.

            We get it, you disagree six ways to Sunday. Cool. Now can you please let everyone else have a discussion that doesn’t involve repeating the same three points to you, followed by you accusing them of disregarding the law, being heartless or whatever?

            Reply
            1. serenity

              It feels like Alison has asked Mike C. to tone down the occasional combativeness about 57 times over the last few years, and he still doesn’t get it.

              Mike, stop being immediately accusatory with people who hold differing opinions.

              Reply
              1. Pollygrammer

                I think I’m developing an allergy to extremely repetitive, combative commenters.

                Mike, please prioritize my health over your preference for overwhelming the comment board with the same opinion in increasingly aggressive language over and over again.

                Reply
            2. tusky

              *raises hand, gingerly* I see where Mike C is coming from. I don’t actually think he is being excessively combative, though maybe a tad brusque. If you’re not interested in engaging with his arguments, maybe just pass on by?

              Reply
              1. Forrest

                He’s left about 50 comments saying the same thing over and over. That’s more than brusque – that’s extremely combative.

                Reply
    3. Cate

      I’d agree with this. It’s a culture fit issue more than anything else. And you’d effectively be asking them to change their company culture to accomodate you. It just seems unfair to everyone else who chose that company for the culture you want to change.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        A “culture” of “we don’t care about anyone with disabilities or following federal laws like the ADA” is not a legitimate workplace culture that should be protected or celebrated.

        Reply
  10. beanie beans

    It makes me really sad that an office would value it’s being a dog-friendly environment over a people-friendly one.

    I love my dog, but if it made my coworker not be able to breathe, I would stop bringing my dog to work. This idea that everyone would hate the OP because of her allergy is really sad.

    Reply
    1. Hills to Die on

      I don’t see it playing out that way –darn her for having allergies! Darn her for knowing–that’s the key–that she had allergies and taking the job anyway, and making an office full of people change their awesome perk just for her. The difference between this OP and the one Alison references above is that the other OP didn’t know beforehand.

      Reply
      1. beanie beans

        I still see that as incredibly sad. I would rather have awesome coworkers than an awesome perk. She’s not choosing to be allergic to dogs. This “culture fit” discussion makes it sound like allergies are part of her personality.

        Reply
        1. Snark

          What would be a part of their personality is the mercenary attitude required to take a job knowing that conditions exist they would find personally distasteful and using a law intended to protect the disabled to force the issue. I admit that’s a REALLY uncharitable interpretation, but if that’s how someone rolled into my dog-friendly workplace, I’d be really hard pressed to assume they’d be an awesome coworker.

          Reply
          1. beanie beans

            I guess it comes down to how we are reading the OP’s letter. My reading of it wasn’t that she has a mercenary attitude, but I can see how other people are reading that.

            I’m reading it as she’s found this great job and is trying to solicit advice for how to make it work and people are jumping on her for even considering continuing any discussions.

            Reply
            1. MuseumChick

              Agree beanie. Instead of saying “Here is advice to how you might be able to make this work” people seems to be saying “How dare you even consider working at this place”

              Reply
              1. Way over yonder

                But yes, as a person with severe dog allergies, I am wondering WHY you would even consider moving forward with the job prospect knowing it’s a dog friendly office?! Why put yourself through the agony? Not to mention, depending on how allergic OP is, why put your health in danger? And to come in knowing it’s dog friendly? Just makes no sense to me.

                Reply
                1. Cornflower Blue

                  I have a medium allergy to eating fish/shellfish (vomiting, rash, headache) with a very sensitive trigger. As in, just the smell of fish can trigger my urge to puke or make me throw up.

                  Knowing that, I would not take a job above a sushi restaurant, next to a fish market where the smell wafts up, etc. I also have to opt out of fish/seafood restaurants and if a workplace had lobster/fish lunches once a week, I would probably need to avoid everyone afterwards. Maybe work from home for half the day?

                  My solution would definitely not be forcing the office to stop the lunches that everyone else loves! Sometimes you just have to do what’s best for you instead of forcing everyone else to fix it.

            2. Snark

              I understand, and I was cranking up the drama with that “mercenary attitude” bit to make a point. However, there are lots of ways “making it work” could look like, and demanding a change to the pet-free policy would run the most roughshod.

              Reply
            3. Spooky

              Well, I think instead of “what can I do to make it work at this office?” this letter comes across as “what can I do to make this office work for me?” That’s where the friction is happening.

              Reply
        2. else

          Yeah, but – there are LOTS of awesome coworkers available. There aren’t very many dog-friendly workplaces. Both the fact of the existing dog environment and the fact of their allergies are already known to the OP. If the dog perk was started after she had been hired and was inflicted on the OP when she was already part of the work community, that would be different. Whether it’s legal or not, forcing all of those other people to give up something they love by her presence is not going to turn out well for the OP as far as working relationships. She would be causing all of the existing work community to lose a very big and uncommon benefit in return for something that will only benefit the newcomer.

          Reply
          1. adrienne

            Plus, in cities, this is effectively a several thousand dollar a year perk that the new employee would be taking away. $100/week for doggy daycare in Boston is considered a good deal. ~$5000 a year off my take-home pay would be enough to make me not love someone.

            And for those saying they leave their dog at home for 8 hours a day – many people work more than 8 hours, especially when you consider commute time, and wouldn’t feel good about that option.

            Reply
          2. Smithy

            I think the reality of people being disappointed is one that’s just going to be impossible to overcome. Law or not – for those in a city, this is likely a huge financial perk as well as other intangibles for staff.

            I was not working when smoking was banned within offices, but I did work at a children’s hospital when new rules about smoking came out that included no smoking ever during a shift and details around how clothing smelling of cigarette smoke could be grounds for termination, etc. This was a large rollout framed entirely around patient health and was done with a number of offers to employees and their relatives to help stop smoking. And it was still not easily accepted by staff regardless what everyone already knew about smoke and health.

            No one patient or person was ever viewed as the person who made smoke breaks go away – but I can only imagine how that would have been adjusted. Taking away perks/people’s preferences is going to hit some people very hard. Even if it’s something as low key as smoking in the early 2000’s. The OP could choose to stand on this hill legally but it could be a really lonely road.

            Reply
        3. A.

          If I was one of the dog people I would be realllly annoyed with my coworker in this situation. My coworker interviewed for the position, was told the office was dog friendly, was told people bring dogs as a perk, did not mention any allergies, did not inquire about dog free spaces during the interview process, pretended to be on board with the perk, was hired and thats when she said wait I’m allergic. We need to ban all dogs. Life would go on. But it is not a good first impression to make at your new job. And good luck getting to go out of their way to help you or answer your questions moving forward.

          Reply
      2. Mike C.

        Too bad, it’s federal law and it ensures that people who are otherwise able to work can work. Otherwise she ends up on social services and lives a worse life.

        Why, as a tax payer, should I have to foot the bill for those social services when the only reason she wouldn’t otherwise work is because people wanted to bring their dog to the office?

        Reply
        1. Lehigh

          In comment after comment, you’re assuming that the OP is currently unemployed and this is her only promising opportunity. Is there some reason you think that’s particularly likely?

          If as you seem to suggest this is the only way to put food on the table, that changes things a lot.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Arbitrary barriers to employment are legitimate externalities that you, I and everyone else here have to deal with.

            Reply
        2. Temperance

          Mike, you’re treating allergies as if they’re similar to a severe physical disability, and insinuating that LW can only have this one specific job, or she’d be on social services. That’s not really accurate.

          Dog-friendly workplaces are a minority.

          Reply
            1. Temperance

              You’re comparing a dog allergy to things like blindness and severe physical disabilities, and that’s really not a fair or honest comparison.

              Reply
        3. Observer

          You keep on saying this, but it’s not true. Federal law does NOT require ANY AND ALL accomodations. It just requires “reasonable” accommodating, and changing the compensation package that is being heavily used could definitely fall outside of that category.

          Reply
          1. Detective Amy Santiago

            But the key word in your comment is *could*.

            LW shouldn’t have to self select out if her allergy rises to the level of federally protected under the ADA. If her skills would be beneficial to the company, they may be willing to work out some sort of accommodation like allowing the LW to work from home more frequently and limiting the days that dogs are allowed in the office. That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              I agree. I’m not suggesting that the OP self select out at this point. I’m purely responding to the (repeated) claim that if the OP needs to have dogs banned from the office the law would definitely require it. It might – but it really might not.

              Reply
        4. Alienor

          How is she going to end up on social services? Millions and millions of people in the world are allergic to dogs and manage to find employment in the millions and millions of workplaces that don’t allow them. I have a good friend who’s violently allergic to shellfish, and he solves the employment issue pretty easily by having a job in one of the millions of places that aren’t a crab fishery or a seafood restaurant. I don’t understand this black-and-white catastrophic logic at all.

          Reply
    2. Roscoe

      I think its a bit different though because this is an existing situation that she is knowingly going into. If the company wasn’t then all of a sudden decided to be dog friendly, it would be different. But as it stands, she is kind of the person who would be looking to change what is something that a lot of people probably like about it. It doesn’t sound like she is a CEO or anything, so shoudl a company be willing to lose other good employees for the unknown quantity.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        Nope, that makes no difference. There were thousands of workplaces with “existing conditions” that folks knowingly went into where the company made changes and it was actually no big deal.

        Your dog isn’t that important.

        Reply
        1. Calliope

          I think that you are not taking the harm this has the potential to do to the dog owners seriously. The possibility of suddenly being required to pay for dog day care that they may not be able to afford or seek new employment is, in fact, important.

          Unlike most situations where disabilities are accommodated in the workplace, the accommodation of “ban all dogs” would harm coworkers financially (it’s not the employer who’ll be footing the bill for dog walking), and possibly jeopardize their employment if they can’t make suitable arrangements for their dogs quickly enough. The OP may have a legal right to insist that this be done. But I do think the OP needs to consider that doing so would cause non-trivial harm to other people.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Of course I’m not – having to take your dog to work is not a disability protected by the ADA or similar law nor is it a core need for the business to operate.

            Those dogs can stay home.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              Cutting people’s effective pay IS a big deal. The fact that you don’t think people should have dogs is not relevant.

              Reply
        2. Nita

          But what level of changes are we talking about? If someone has agoraphobia that’s set off by open office plans, is the business that hired them going to rebuild the entire office? Would a court consider this a “reasonable” accommodation? If OP has allergies severe enough to be disabled by them, chances are that the required accommodations will also be on the very large scale. Sanitizing the office may not be enough, because pet hair and dander does tend to stick to things/get embedded in furniture cushions, and in any case, just sitting next to pet owners may set off an allergy attack.

          And if they’re mild allergies, they’re probably just plain not covered by ADA, and there’s no telling whether management will voluntarily change a policy that affects the entire office for the sake of one new hire who knew about the problem going in. At best, they may be able to ask for a mostly-telecommute job. It sounds from the original letter that this is a possibility – OP says that it’s company policy to only allow telecommuting once a week, but doesn’t say there are any reasons for them to be in office daily, other than company policy.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Whatever level of changes are needed to accommodate the employee that doesn’t unduly burden the employer.

            Reply
            1. Observer

              Exactly. And effectively changing people’s pay is not likely to fall under “not unduly burdening the employer.”

              Reply
              1. mrs__peel

                If I *choose* to have a dog (with all of the financial responsibilities that entails), and my work situation changes in such a way that I have to pay for additional pet care, that is not a pay cut. That’s a reasonably forseeable and normal expense of pet ownership, and a responsible pet owner would have that kind of back-up plan and be able to budget for it.

                Reply
            2. Starbuck

              And if lots of people threaten to quit/leave if this perk goes away, is that an undue burden? For the sake of one employee? I guess that’s a question for a lawyer, not you, but I’m still wondering.

              Reply
    3. Snark

      But if your coworker knew going into it that you brought your dog to work, and took the job anyway, and then demanded you take your dog away with the full legal weight of the ADA behind them….that would strike me as, frankly, kind of a dick move.

      Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Wanting to work a job that one is perfectly qualified for is much, much more important than having your pet at work. It’s federal law, deal with it.

            Why should I have to bear the externalities of your position?

            Reply
            1. A day in the zoo

              Mike, you are trying to make this a black and white issue. It is not. The reality is that there would be some debate on whether her medical condition would qualify under the ADA. Then the would be the debate about “reasonable” accommodation. If a dozen employees said they would leave the company, then banning all dogs would be a business disruption. The ban would not be imposed by ADA.

              There also could be competing accommodations at work where the dogs offer a calming element to an environment. The Olympics had a puppy area for the athletes to use.

              You need to see that there are many nuances to this situation and the employee is not “entitled” to any and all jobs she is qualified for.

              Reply
    4. Manders

      While in general I think the needs of people should be prioritized over pets, I also think it’s reasonable to take the fact that the employees would be upset about losing that perk seriously. OP has the right to an allergen-free workspace, but she doesn’t have the ability to control the minds of everyone around her. And yeah, I think people would be annoyed–that’s a pretty huge perk to lose, especially if this job’s in a city where most dog owners don’t have a big yard.

      Reply
      1. Anonym

        And it’s a perk that may have logistical and financial implications for the pet-bringing colleagues. If those dogs need care during the day, the compensation picture for some employees could change significantly.

        Reply
        1. Sally

          This is the case for me. I share my dogs with my ex, and on the days I have them, I work from home because I can’t afford to have them in doggie daycare. I know you can’t count on things never changing, but if I took a job partly because I could bring my dogs with me, and that changed, it would be a big hit to my budget.

          Reply
        2. Dragoning

          You know, that might be a “reasonable accommodation” of sorts, depending on the level of allergy: set up a doggy day care in the building or near the office where people can go and visit their dogs and not have them sitting at their feet all day long and roaming about the office.

          Reply
          1. Lumos

            I would be so in love with this perk. I have a puppy. (six months old) I don’t want her at my feet all day. She has an incredible amount of energy and right now I can’t afford doggy day care and I have to leave her home and it kills me. She’s likely not getting the stimulation she needs during the day, even with my cats around for her. This would be amazing. Segregating the dogs away from any potential allergy holders but still allowing me to have her near and be able to check on her while she gets what she needs as well. <3

            Reply
      2. bikes

        Big yes to this! In NYC, dog daycare runs $500 a week per dog. Some people have 2-3. Of course people would be upset to see this perk vanish. I think the LW is underestimating how much this might impact morale.

        Reply
      3. Starbuck

        “OP has the right to an allergen-free workspace”

        Does she necessarily? Wouldn’t this depend on the severity of the allergy, and the nature of the allergen? I work in a state park, do I have the right to a pollen-free workplace for the couple weeks each year I get a little sniffly? This really depends on how bad OP’s allergies are, which is information she did not provide, so talk about rights/disability/ADA accommodations is pure speculation.

        Reply
    5. Facepalm

      That would be valid if she already worked in the office and they wanted to bring dogs in. But she wants to insert herself into a place she already knows is dog-friendly and have that taken away.

      Reply
    6. MuseumChick

      I agree Beanie Beans. I’m finding the arguments in the comment section really, really gross today. Just because the disability here is an allergy the attitude seems to be “Just suck it up and find a different job”.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        I’m finding the “use the broadest possible reading of the ADA to force the issue” attitude equally gross.

        Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          I don’t see this as the broadest possible reading the ADA to say that if your ability to breath is severally effect (we don’t know if the OP’s allergies rise to that level but they might), you are covered by ADA.

          Reply
          1. Snark

            I do not, having become quite conversant in those requirements lately, particularly agree that typical pet allergies are rightly construed as a disability. If they are, the reasonable accommodation might be “go get allergy shots,” just like one of my reasonable accommodations is “go get hearing aids.”

            Reply
            1. MuseumChick

              That’s the thing though, we don’t know if the OP’s allergies do rise to the level of being covered by the ADA. They might, they might not. If they do not then the advice we should be giving in the comments are ways she can speak with and work with her company to have a comfortable work enviroment. If they do rise to the level of a disability then the attitude in the comment section of “Oh well, you have a disability but people loooooooooove their pets so to bad” seems really strange to me.

              Reply
              1. Snark

                The OP didn’t actually specify that they have exceptionally severe allergies, so in the absence of an indication that’s the case, I will assume they meant typical pet allergies. Severe allergies to pets are a) not common and b) would be worth mentioning in a letter like this, so their absence is telling.

                And that’s not my advice. My advice is, “this may not be the workplace for you, and if it is, tread very lightly using the ADA to force changes to established perks when you’re brand new and have zero capital to burn with your new colleagues.” That applies whether dogs are the perk in question or not.

                Reply
                1. MuseumChick

                  Oh sorry, I didn’t mean you specifically Snark! I was referring to the over-all tone of the comment section today.

                  The absence of knowing just how sever her allergies are I think we have to consider both ends of the spectrum and give advice accordingly.

                2. Snark

                  That makes sense. And please excuse my confrontational mood today; I had a crappy night and my anxiety is spiking this morning, so I’m being uncharitable and bitchy.

                3. MuseumChick

                  @ Snark, no worries at all! I think this is just one of those letters that really hit a nerve with people.

                4. Hills to Die on

                  Didn’t really see Snark as being the comabtive one in this discussion today… :0)

          2. Observer

            But that’s the the whole question. The other part of the question is whether it’s a reasonable accommodation. And something that has a significant negative effect on people’s pay is big enough deal that waving it off IS a stretch of the ADA.

            Reply
          1. Totally Minnie

            The law is written broadly and vaguely to allow for interpretation of each specific case on its own merits. That’s what a lot of the commenters here are trying to do. Granted, none of us knows the severity of OP’s allergies. They may be covered under ADA or they may not be. They may be something that the workplace could find a reasonable accommodation for, or they may not be. We don’t know the particulars of this case, so the fact that federal law *might* entitle OP to certain things doesn’t mean that federal law *absolutely* entitles OP to those things. To argue the law as if we know the particulars when we don’t isn’t all that helpful to the OP.

            Reply
      2. Tardigrade

        I wonder if people would have the same reaction if the issue weren’t about dogs. I don’t see this any differently than if the office were, say, perfume-friendly. Everyone wears heavy perfume every day and this is a huge perk to them. Someone with an allergy to heavy perfume is a good fit for a position there and will receive an offer, except it might mean nobody gets to wear their heavy perfume at work now, even though that has nothing to do with the actual work performed.

        Reply
        1. Hapless Bureaucrat

          It’s a similar accomodation yes, but the investment in unscented bath products is typically a lot smaller than the investment in doggy daycare, or kennels and run at home, or in lost time going home to let the dog out.
          If it were cats in the workplace, I think that would come closer to the perfume issue. Cats can typically be left at home with fewer potential toileting and exercise issues. Some of therdog owners might have no problem leaving the dog home but for others losing the benefit might have significant outside ramifications.
          None of which is to say that, if it came to that, this isn’t an accomodation the company should make. Its to acknowledge that coworkers might have more riding on the line than the loss of dog-slobber under their desks.

          Reply
          1. Tuxedo Cat

            In the case of perfume, it can still be used at others times. You might not get the perk of wearing it at work, but it’s not like it goes to waste. Whereas with a dog, you can enjoy the dog at home but you might have to invest in daycare or a sitter for the dog.

            Reply
        2. justsomeone

          The difference being is not wearing perfume at work doesn’t cost the employees money. Whereas, not bringing your dog to work now DOES cost employees money for pet care during the day.

          A more accurate comparison would be that you work at a place that has free-onsite daycare and suddenly a new employee is hired that is immunocompromised and suddenly the on-site daycare goes away. Now everyone who used the free onsite-daycare has to find their own daycare. People are going to be pissed about that. People will leave over that. As others have said – it’s not fair to the OP, but she knows ahead of time that it’s a dog friendly office and that is obviously a HUGE perk to people. She’s potentially going to force everyone in that office to not only lose their dog’s companionship during the day, but also incur new costs for care during the day. I don’t even LIKE dogs and I’d be super upset about that.

          Reply
          1. Tardigrade

            Yes the financial aspect to this is different and one I can sympathize with, and I think the best solution is one that accommodates OP in some other way. Yet, I think it’s unwise for employees to fully rely on a workplace to compensate them for pet ownership (or child care, in your example) because perks do change and so on. My workplace closed its onsite childcare a few years ago, in fact.

            Reply
        3. Observer

          Except that if a company tries to retroactively go fragrance FREE, they ARE going to have a problem. And while many companies WILL try to enforce policies to minimize fragrances, fragrance free is a far rarer thing for good practical reasons.

          Reply
        4. SignalLost

          I would never work anywhere I know had a lot of perfume or fragrance use. It ain’t worth it in terms of the pain I would suffer, and I have a really minor allergy. I also would not march in and demand accommodation unless I was being hired as a C-suite exec and therefore had a lot of potential capital to expend. There are other jobs. Why make myself miserable and make my coworkers hate me?

          Reply
        5. Lara

          Being told not to wear perfume won’t cost you $100s of dollars a day in alternative arrangements.

          Reply
      3. Observer

        And I’m finding the deliberate misreading of what people are actually saying to be equally gross.

        Reply
      4. Truth-teller

        Lots of people with psychological challenges get a dog as an emotional support animal.

        Why does Mike fawn over people who have allergies but dismiss those with mental health challenges?

        Reply
        1. mrs__peel

          People who have a legitimate medical need for a service dog and have a properly trained and licensed one are covered by the ADA.

          Any Joe Schmoe can claim that their pet Rover is an “emotional support dog”, but that doesn’t mean that they have any legal right to take the dog into the workplace or that the dog belongs there. “Support animals” are often not particularly well-trained or well-behaved in a public setting.

          There’s no real distinction between an unlicensed emotional support dog and any old pet dog– allowing them into the office is a perk (which can be revoked by the employer at any time), not a right.

          Reply
    7. LavaLamp

      But, its’ kind of true. It’s human to wonder why the heck someone would come in and change something major instead of recognizing that maybe that place isn’t a good fit. Humans aren’t 100% good or evil, and needing an accommodation is a thing that happens. But OP has the ability to go into this with her eyes wide open. This isn’t like the lady who got dog Ninja’d which was a truly awful situation, this person has all the info and can hopefully find an awesome place to work where they don’t have to possibly make people loose a cool perk.

      Do we need dogs in the office? No, but its a way some companies retain talent and being someone who wants to keep a perk does not make them selfish or jerks. It makes them human. I say this as someone who has allergies and my own disability accommodations.

      Reply
      1. Mike C.

        It’s also human to think about it for ten seconds and understand that putting up artificial barriers to work has significant consequences for those individuals and society as a whole.

        “Talent” needs to suck it up and understand that the health needs of the individual are more important than seeing their pet at work.

        Reply
        1. MuseumChick

          I agree Mike C. I think some of what is happening int he comment section is a relfection in out society of not really understand allergies and how severe they can be. I mean, we don’t know that the OP has allergies that rise to the level of needing to be covered by the ADA but I find it so strange that there is little compassion for a medical issue.

          Reply
          1. Q without U

            I think some of what is happening here is that people with allergies, some of them severe (including me), cannot ever imaging putting themselves in the position of going into an office that has a culture of embracing the thing you’re allergic to. I don’t care what the law says, I care what my day-to-day life is going to be like as an employee. If the pets are allowed to stay, I’m going to be constantly symptomatic, no matter what accommodations are made. If the pets are removed, I’m going to be completely resented by a large portion of my colleagues. (And still, it will probably take years before the pet residue is completely gone from the walls, carpet, furniture, etc.)

            People with allergies are used to making choices like this every day – I can’t eat this, I can’t go to this relative’s house, I can’t use this detergent… You may these choices because your life will suck if you make a different one. Realistically, choosing to work in a pet friendly office would mean my life would suck one way or another, and it’s unrealistic to pretend otherwise, no matter what the ADA says.

            Reply
            1. Mike C.

              It’s one thing to make this choice for yourself, it’s quite another to expect this choice of others.

              Lots of people are sh!tty about these sorts of changes until these changes are commonplace. If you cling to the idea that “people are going to be sh!tty and that’s that” then nothing changes. If you don’t want to make those changes fine, but if you tell everyone else that making those changes then we’re left with everyone else dealing with the externalities.

              Reply
              1. Lara

                I would really appreciate if you would stop acting as though one person with allergies not being able to work in a dog friendly office is analogous to the historic and current oppression of minorities.

                If you need the difference spelled out; women and POC face cultural barriers to work *in all workplaces* to a greater or lesser extent. One workplace being unsuitable for one person is not the equivalent of centuries of oppression.

                Reply
            2. mrs__peel

              I have allergies, too, as well as huge student loans and other bills that aren’t going to pay themselves. Depending on my situation (e.g., not having many other employment options in the area, etc.), I can *easily* imagine being willing to suck up being resented and asking for accommodations anyway.

              There’s a certain amount of financial privilege involved in saying “Well, I wouldn’t bother applying there”. Many people don’t have much luxury of choice, which is why the ADA is so important (and why employers taking it seriously is so important).

              Reply
          2. mrs__peel

            I completely agree. Even as a dog lover myself, I really find it baffling that so many people have so little apparent compassion for people with a medical issue that they can’t help.

            Reply
        2. Temperance

          You seem to care deeply about the potential financial consequences of OP not getting this job. What about the potential financial consequences for the folks who might have taken this job because they can’t afford doggy day care, and now are facing trying to come up with hundreds of dollars per month?

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Then they leave their dog at home. Why is this so difficult?

            Having your at pet is not as important as the OP’s ability to work, full and complete stop.

            Reply
            1. rldk

              Wait, this whole time, you haven’t understood why people can’t just leave dogs at home? My god man. Workdays have gotten longer, and in metro areas there may be no way for dogs to go outside and do their business on their own, all combining into dogs cannot be left at home for a full workday. And the solutions, particularly in metro areas, are dogwalkers ($$) and doggy daycares ($$$$ plus waiting lists to get into classes in some areas).

              People have been explaining this exact fact over & over again to you, and you’re not seeming to get it or care. Why is this so difficult?

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                Because you folks keep prioritizing your pets over actual human beings.

                Why is that so difficult?

                Reply
                1. Gigglewater

                  I haven’t ready any of the comments here as that. What I’ve been reading is “I found a great job where I am allowed to bring my pet to work, it saves me money and makes my day better and feasible and that’s awesome. I’m about to a get a new colleague who is very allergic to my dog and so I can no longer bring my dog in. I get that and will accommodate this new co-worker but it now means that this awesome perk that saved me money and enhanced my day is no longer there. I now need to redo my calculation for if this job still makes sense for me or if I can afford to stay here. I can’t. That sucks and because I’m perfectly human it sucks that this persons’ very legitimately need wasn’t able to be accommodated in another way and now I’m dealing with something unexpected. I’m going to try my very best to be kind and courteous to this person but they really threw a wrench in my life and sometimes it’s hard to be the best version of myself.”

                  If you read having to do that decision making because of an external factor and being annoyed at that external factor because you’re human and it happens as ” folks keep prioritizing your pets over actual human beings.” I’d say I think you’re choosing the MOST uncharitable reading of most people’s intents and frankly it’s become derailing to people providing helpful advice, tips, or other information to this LW.

                2. Courageous cat

                  I think there’s a missing factor though – that people are prioritizing their pets over a potential coworker they don’t even KNOW. People are going to be much more likely to give up a perk like this for a beloved coworker they work well with than a stranger (who may or may not bring anything to the table). I don’t see how that’s difficult to understand. You’re trying to make a clearly gray issue (judging by the amount of comments alone) very black and white.

                3. justcourt

                  The world is full of people I don’t know and don’t really care about.

                  My dog, on the other hand, I love. I don’t want to get married, or have kids, or get a roommate. I like to come home after work to a quiet house and relax, but I don’t want to be completely alone. My dog provides the perfect companionship. She gets me going out on walks. Her presence calms me. In fact, there are a lot of health benefits to having pets.

                  If my employer put me in the position of not realistically being able to have my dog, I would start looking for a new job immediately.

                  LW’s potential future coworkers might not feel the same way I do, but there are plenty of people who don’t easily dismiss having a pet the way you do. Plenty of people consider their pets family and want a job/lifestyle that allows them to have a pet, and people aren’t jerks for wanting that.

                  I get that legally LW might be able to push a pet free office, but one of the consequences of that is that employers are going to lose people like me who find jobs that better match their lifestyle. It’s not the responsibility of employees to prioritize an employer’s ability to comply with the law and retain employees who relied on a benefit/perk over their pets.

                4. Temperance

                  I mean, yes, I absolutely would prioritize my own pet over a human being. Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t anyone?

        3. Truth-teller

          But you are putting artificial barriers in front of those who have emotional support dogs.

          Reply
          1. mrs__peel

            The ADA covers people who have a legit need for a (properly trained, licensed) service dog.

            Reply
    8. Lynn

      I’m not a fan of pets in the workplace, but….. there many be many people who took jobs at this company because of the pet policy. It saves them the cost of a dog walker or doggy day care or just brings them comfort. To have a somewhat rare perk taken away without anything to make up for it would likely make a fair number of people grumpy, even though the reason is a medically sound one.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        Ultimately, this is where I come down on the broader question – pets have no business at work anyway, because stuff like this always crops up, and it creates conflict where none needed to exist.

        Reply
      2. BethRA

        I would also point out that it’s not always just dog owners that enjoy having dogs in the office. When I used to bring my dog in, the people who stopped by to visit with her when she was in tended to be folks who didn’t have dogs.

        Reply
        1. Calliope

          Yeah, I’m not guessing that the workplace is going to foot the bill for dog care for everyone who’s left in a bind if the dog-friendly policy suddenly ends.

          Reply
          1. Mike C.

            Why does everyone keep bringing this up? Dogs don’t require day care, they aren’t children.

            And I said “another perk” not any specific perk.

            Reply
            1. peachie

              Some dogs DO require care during the day. I’m not saying “…therefore offices must provide this perk!” but come on, it seems like you’re just being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.

              Reply
                1. Lehigh

                  You literally said “dogs don’t require daycare” and then, when refuted by multiple people, ignored the fact they you were wrong to double-down on a point you have already made approximately one million times.

              1. VintageLydia

                Okay then… get doggy daycare. I’d be entitled as all heck if I brought my kid to work because paying for daycare is expensive and inconvenient (and it is MANY TIMES more expensive for kids than dogs.)

                Not a lot of sympathy. You signed up for that responsibility. This person didn’t sign up for allergies.

                Reply
                1. Plague of frogs

                  OK, and if your company had free child-care and then took that away, you would just be A-OK with that?

                2. VintageLydia

                  If someone was, say immunocompromised and couldn’t be around small children in large numbers, I’d be upset to lose the perk, sure, but I sure as hell wouldn’t think badly of the person for whom the perk was eliminated to accommodate. I’m not so selfish as to put the health and wellbeing of a coworker at risk.

                3. Plague of frogs

                  OK, but OP’s putative coworkers didn’t write in and say, “Should we think badly of this allergic person?” If they had, every single commenter would be saying no.

                  Taking this perk away is no different from lowering everyone’s pay. You can’t just say, “Well, you should have thought of that before you got a dog.” It just doesn’t work that way.

                4. CMart

                  @VintageLydia

                  I wouldn’t necessarily think badly of an immunocompromised person coming to my workplace and making my onsite daycare vanish–but I can’t say I wouldn’t have dark thoughts about “why the hell couldn’t they go work literally anywhere else? Now I have to find a new job/be $35,000 poorer every year/likely stall in my career or pass up promotion opportunities because my schedule is now inflexible/tell my spouse they’ll have to quit their job.” I’m sure I wouldn’t alone in that.

                  Having to figure out how to take care of a pet is less high stakes than that, I’m sure. But it’s also very unfair to say that people being upset that something that was of a huge, tangible, likely monetary benefit to them being taken away are somehow heartless for being upset about that. We can have compassion for the reason behind the change while still being angry (at the universe, perhaps) that the change was necessary. Humans are complex creatures capable of holding many different thoughts and emotions.

            2. BethRA

              For my partner and I to work the hours that our jobs require, yes, my dogs do require some kind of care during the day. We have a dog-walking service instead of “day care” and it costs us about $100 per week. So unless this other perk adds $4,000/year to someone’s paycheck, it’s not going to be the easy trade-off you think it is.

              Would you just shrug off your employer charging you an additional 4/5K for your insurance or the ability to park your car, for example?

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                How much do you think it costs the OP not to have a job? How much do you think it costs the employer to get caught violating the ADA?

                Reply
                1. Observer

                  Except that the employer will probably NOT be in violation – changing people’s pay is not a small thing. And probably NOT a required “reasonable accommodation”.

                2. BethRA

                  I never said the OP should opt for unemployment, or that the company should violate the ADA.

                  Just pointing out that you might be a little less dismissive if it was your wallet getting hit for thousands of dollars a year.

            3. Amy the Rev

              To humanely care for animals, they need some sort of regular mental stimulation, exercise (some animals/breeds need less than others), and companionship (especially if they are pack animals like livestock or dogs). While leaving a dog alone for over 8 hours/day likely wouldn’t *kill* them, that doesn’t mean that it’s a humane way to care for them. At the very least, a person should have a dog-walker come and give them a little exercise and play time.

              Personally, as someone who grew up with animals and feels like my life isn’t really complete without having a dog as a companion, my plan has always been to wait to get a dog until I have a job that wouldn’t force me to leave it alone for over 8 hours, be that by a high enough salary to hire a dog walker or day care, flexible working-from-home time, or a dog-friendly office.

              I currently work in a small (~6 employees) dog-friendly office, though I’m not quite at the financial level I’d like to be at the be able to afford all the *other* expenses related to responsible and compassionate dog ownership. But when I *am* at that point, and have a dog, if my office were to reverse their policy and weren’t able to offer a compensating perk (such as reimbursement for a dog-walker, or flexible WFH time), I would have to quit. After all, once you adopt a pet you are responsible for their care and wellbeing, and office perks changing are no excuse to treat an animal inhumanely.

              I don’t dare venture an opinion about what OP should do, but I do firmly believe that it wouldn’t be unreasonable, or surprising even, if many employees quit in the wake of an office-wide dog ban, due to their commitment to the care of the living being for which they are responsible.

              Reply
              1. Mike C.

                Yeah, this still doesn’t overcome federal law and I don’t like the implication that somehow my happy and healthy childhood dog was somehow mistreated or worse because he didn’t have the full time supervision that would normally be given to a toddler.

                Reply
                1. Observer

                  And a lot of us don’t like your repeated mis-characterization of what people are saying and Federal law.

                2. Plague of frogs

                  “I don’t like the implication that somehow my happy and healthy childhood dog was somehow mistreated or worse”

                  It’s a terrible thing to have to consider and I understand your emotional push-back against considering it….but don’t attack other dog people over it. Taking away a major perk from a large number of people is not a reasonable accommodation. It’s just not.

                  (FWIW, I don’t have a dog. I don’t plan to have one until I’m retired, because I work too much to care for it properly. I don’t think new dog-friendly offices should be created, because allergic people. I don’t think dogs should be banned from existing dog-friendly offices, because major perk. And, I usually enjoy and appreciate your comments to the point that I seek them out, but not so much today).

                3. Amy the Rev

                  I’m not sure how you jumped from ” a dog-walker come and give them a little exercise and play time” to “the full time supervision that would normally be given to a toddler,” but that you made that jump is very telling. I’ve gotta say, this is a really fascinating lesson on human emotions and psychology.

            4. Aleta

              Many require day care or a walker, just to pee. Even if they’re napping a lot, they’ll also be drinking more water than at night, and even big dogs I’ve lived with weren’t able to go 9+ hours (unless you have a REALLY short commute) without peeing.

              Reply
              1. Amy the Rev

                My (future) dog will be a church dog, too! I’m planning on getting it certified as a therapy dog so that it’s an option for folks who want pastoral counseling or a hospital/nursing home visit. There’s a thriving therapy dog/hospital relationship where I am so I see it as really adding to my ministry.

                Reply
                1. Plague of frogs

                  I love this idea. I was visiting a dear friend in an old folks home and she passed away while I was there. It was one of the most horrifying moments of my life. I waited for a few hours for her kids to get there (wanted to tell them her last words, and felt inexplicably weird about leaving her body alone in the facility) and during that time the facility cat sat in my lap and purred….it kind of kept me sane.

                2. Humble Schoolmarm

                  I sort of hate to say it, and can see the potential benefits, but doesn’t having a church dog create a similar problem as the one we’re discussing here (i.e. many parishioners will love the dog to pieces, but many others may not feel comfortable coming to church at all because of fears or allergies)? In that case, would it simply be assumed that the non-dog lovers should attend another church the didn’t have a dog, regardless of any other factors that might make it the perfect church for them?

                3. Amy the Rev

                  One of our long-time parishioners is blind and has a seeing-eye dog, so anyone with a severe allergy, fear, or phobia of dogs already has had to figure out what sort of boundaries/exposure they need or can/can’t handle. Adding a weekday dog who only goes in my specific office isn’t adding much dog-ness to the areas/times of church when parishioners are actually around.

                  It’s not super common for parishioners to come into our building during the week, and fortunately, the way our building is set up, I could keep my dog in my office with me and take it in/out of the building without having to go through the main office. I also don’t work typical 9-5 hours, so it would be very easy for me to arrange to just come in for when I’m having a pastoral counseling session and leave the dog at home for a couple hours, or to meet with a parishioner outside of my office (we have many comfortable, private rooms in our building) if they have a severe allergy and are worried being around shedded fur/dander.

                  (I wouldn’t bring a dog in on Sunday morning because it’s so hectic it just wouldn’t make sense.)

                  It’s good to think about, because we don’t want our ministry to be exclusionary in any way, but fortunately our parishioner’s service dog has tested the waters a bit and we have a great building/schedule set-up to support a minister owning a dog.

            1. Lehigh

              Isn’t that a bit silly? “Hey, here’s a big change to your lifestyle. But you can wear jeans on Fridays!”

              It’s coming across that you really don’t like people who would consider this an important perk, or people who wouldn’t leave their dog home during the work day.

              Reply
    9. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

      I think it might help to think about this substituting out a work perk that you personally and truly value (some sort of non- human object/supplies that are provided or even a service or some sort) for “dogs”.

      Now imagine if a new employee came in. They were fully aware that the company provides this perk (whatever it is that you truly value), but still took the job and then was the cause of the company not providing this anymore. Of course you can have sympathy for the new employee (because there’s obviously a reason they required this accomodation) but you can ALSO be annoyed at your personal loss and the fact that a specific, single person caused this loss isn’t going to magically leave your brain.

      Reply
      1. Lehigh

        Right. It’s not necessarily a thing that would be impossible for an exceptional new coworker to overcome, but it is burning a lot of not-yet-earned social capital and will raise the bar for the OP’s behavior, attitude, and work to be seen as “worth it” for her coworkers. That might not be fair, but it is true. If the OP is unemployed with few other options, that would likely make it worth the social difficulty for her to take this job. If not, perhaps it would be best to discuss possible accommodations up front before stepping into a potentially fraught situation.

        Reply
      2. Amy the Rev

        That’s such a good point. I think that some of us are treating it as though both compassion and understanding for the allergic employee *and* frustration and disappointment over a revocation of a key perk due to said allergy can exist in our minds simultaneously. Being frustrated or disappointed doesn’t negate our compassion and understanding of why it might need to happen. Though unfortunately, it would likely indeed take some time for morale to get back up to normal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many employees resigned.

        Reply
    10. peachie

      This is ascribing a lot of bad faith without supporting evidence. A workplace that allows dogs is not automatically a workplace that hates people. Besides, this question is from the job applicant’s perspective–there is no indication that the workplace wouldn’t be willing to cancel the perk, scrub down the office, etc. if they knew about the allergy.

      Reply
  11. Snark

    OP….I hate to say it, but there’s only so far one is really entitled to demand changes to an established work culture. If this is a dog-friendly workplace, whatever your chances of getting the job may be, it may not be the job for you.

    That said, tread lightly with disability claims and accomodations. I admit that as someone who has a physical disability requiring some accommodations, the notion that you would use the ADA to force this issue rubs me very much the wrong way. So that’s my bias – I depend on the ADA being taken seriously, and I feel like claiming allergies as a disability undermines it. A disability as defined by the ADA also has to significantly impair one’s ability to perform major life activities. While the ADA amendments do encourage a broad and inclusive interpretation, and you may find an allergist willing to attest to that, pet allergies strike me as a very broad reading indeed. And, possibly, one that misuses the legal weight protecting the disabled to demand conformance to one’s preferences. And as Alison says, the most reasonable accommodation, if one is required and legitimate, may be for you to get allergy shots – not for dogs to be removed and the office sanitized. So I’d request and encourage you to tread lightly through that issue.

    Reply
    1. Kate 2

      I agree. Being allergic to dogs is incredibly different than, say, not being able to walk. Or having PTSD. And considering 99% of workplaces are dog-free, *choosing* to apply/work at one that isn’t rubs me the wrong way. This isn’t, as other commenters have suggested, AT ALL like telling people with disabilities to just deal. There’s a huge difference between refusing to build a necessary wheelchair ramp and advising someone to apply for a job at one of millions of dog-unfriendly workplaces in the country.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        I will qualify what I said: if OP’s pet allergies are so severe that they will go into anaphylactic shock upon exposure to any quantity of pet hair, I think they’re ethically and legally in the clear to claim disability accommodations, because that will affect their ability to perform basic life activities even if exposed by someone’s coat or something.

        Reply
        1. Kate 2

          But if their allergies are that severe (reaction caused by pet hair on someone’s coat), OP wouldn’t be able to work with ANY pet owners.

          You could have people take their coats off in a special separate room, but you would still have pet hair on their clothes underneath. And you could ban people from touching their pets in work clothes (well not legally you couldn’t I think), but ambient pet hair is STILL going to be a problem.

          There are people with allergies that severe, but from the cases I have known they rarely leave the house because of it.

          Reply
          1. Naptime Enthusiast

            My best friend’s mom has a severe peanut allergy, both in terms of sensitivity and reaction. I have to remember to shower and brush my teeth before visiting her because even trace oils on my skin could cause a reaction. She works from home full time and is very happy with that arrangement. I feel like if OP is open to a full time WFH position then that is the company’s best bet, even if they don’t want to implement it for anyone else.

            Reply
          2. Nita

            Exactly. Either the allergies are so severe (and ADA-level) that OP cannot work in this office even if it’s banned all dogs and been cleaned to the nines, or the allergies are mild enough that ADA does not apply.

            Reply
        2. Seriously?

          ADA level does not have to be just exposure to a coat. Even if their allergy is only triggered by being licked by the dog it may qualify, it would just mean the accommodation might be keeping the dog far enough away to not lick them.

          Reply
        3. Kyrielle

          It’s also possible the OP reacts to large quantities but not small – but if the reaction is a significant asthma attack or a risk of anaphylaxis, that still rises to the level of being covered by the ADA.

          Allergy shots can help, but they may not be a 100% cure, and OP may have already tried them or been advised not to. In some cases of severe reactions (not severe sensitivity, severe reaction), they have to be done in-patient in the hospital. (Luckily, I had childhood asthma, and when I outgrew it, I could finally do the allergy shots more safely. They only sent me to the ER once, and now my allergies are moderately miserable but no longer cost me 4-8 hours of sick leave every month as they did then.)

          That said, OP, if you have allergies bad enough to require ADA accommodation, and don’t desperately need “a job any job” I would bring this up during the hiring process and ask whether work-from-home is an option – and self-select out if it isn’t.

          People are human, and maybe it would be fine, but maybe your new coworkers would blame you, cold-shoulder you, etc. (Which happened even to the earlier OP who *didn’t know going in* – knowing beforehand is likely to be seen even more badly, on average.) This isn’t fair. But it’s also very very possible and I would imagine not fun to deal with.

          Also, even if your allergies aren’t super-sensitive, it would be difficult to clear out all the extant dander and hairs. (I mean, you can make it look clean, but that has had time to work into everything.) It’s not that it couldn’t be done, it’s whether they would do it well *enough*.

          If your allergy is okay with most places that have had a dog in them and most people’s clothing that has been around a dog, then it might be possible to accommodate with less pain – but I still wouldn’t go in expecting the dogs to be removed. Yes, you can require it. Yes, I think people should be more important than dogs. But if you cause the dogs to be removed, at best you will have disappointed-grumpy coworkers who were enjoying that perk.

          Reply
        4. EddieSherbert

          That’s very true. I think I’m personally assuming OP doesn’t have severe allergies that would qualify for ADA… Since she plans to do an in-person interview and may or may not mention her allergies in the interview.

          Unless it HAPPENS to be an interview somewhere besides the office, which isn’t very common, she’d HAVE to tell them before she even interviews in person, right? …Unless the allergies are mild enough she could hide them until the offer stage of the process?

          Reply
    2. Seriously?

      I disagree that the ADA should automatically not apply to allergies. It depends on what the allergic response is and how severe it is. While the most common pet allergy response is itchy eyes and runny nose, they can also cause swelling, hives and asthma, and that is just what I have witnessed personally. It is definitely possible for an allergy to rise to ADA levels.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        So stipulated. However, in those cases, the accommodation may not actually be what OP wants to happen.

        Reply
    3. Elizabeth

      I’m curious what you think about the ADA accommodation I have. I have a severe case of Raynaud’s Syndrome, which is a condition that results in the inability to process heat & cold properly. In order to be functional, I have to have a work environment between 70 & 76 degrees, with a very tightly controlled humidity level. The rheumatologist put this in writing, so that I don’t lose the use of my fingers & toes. Others who have the same level of the condition I do routinely end up having limbs amputated due to sores & infections that develop from lack of blood flow. That’s what we’re trying to prevent. It doesn’t matter how much our facility department fusses and tells me to put on more clothes in the winter; the doctor says this is what we need to do.

      Do you consider that a misuse of the ADA? Because I don’t see it as much different than an allergy accommodation.

      Reply
      1. Mystery Bookworm

        Snark qualified what she said around severity. I suspect that what she’s getting at is the sheer commonality of allergies – if we defined all allergies as disabilities, virtually everyone would have a disability.

        I think she’s proposing that OP approach this topic gently, and not open the conversation by invoking ADA.

        Reply
      2. Snark

        No, I consider it a very prudent and defensible use of the ADA for a markedly more severe physical condition than a mild pet allergy that typically causes congestion and skin irritation without the possibility of amputation.

        Reply
      3. Beth Jacobs

        I think the difference is that you’re going to run into that issue at almost any job, so getting an ADA accommodation is the only way you can work. Since asking you not to work is absolutely ridiculous, there’s no other option than the ADA accommodation.
        How many offices are dog-friendly? 1%? So wouldn’t it be more reasonable for OP to just work literally anywhere else? The point of laws like ADA (and their equivalents all over the world) is that without them, disabled people are effectively excluded from the workforce or experience unnecessary suffering at work, both of which has devastating socioeconomic consequences. If 99% of offices were filled with dogs, there would be no doubt that OP needs an ADA accommodation. But in this case, it just seems there are easier options.

        Reply
    4. Mystery Bookworm

      I think this is really well said, and it really makes me think. On one hand, of course people can’t control their allergic reactions, and it makes sense to accomodate that where possible.

      On the other, I do think you’re right that, by considering all alleiges as disabilities, we’re really watering down the severity of what it means to have a disability.

      In addition, this makes me wonder about the possibility of an ‘ableist hierarchy’ even under the umbrella of disabilities, since someone with a pet or food allergy (who is otherwise able-bodied) is probably in a really good position to advocate for themselves and their needs. In seeking that goal, we run the risk overlooking or trampling on the needs of less visible disabled populations. (Which I think is the point some people are getting at with their blind coworkers requiring service animals.) And companies who are “accommodating” allergies can point to that as a sign that they’re not discriminatory, while still pushing back on people with more difficult reasonable accommodations.

      To be clear, this is a topic that’s out of my area of expertise, so I’m just sort of mulling it over here.

      Reply
    5. Galatea

      While overall I agree with you here, I gotta say, I’m really bristling at the statement that “claiming allergies as a disability undermines it”. Generally speaking, the ADA does and has covered allergies and asthma; as someone who has needed accommodations to avoid literally dying, I very much do not think claiming allergies undermines anything, any more than someone who sometimes needs assistive devices to walk and sometimes does not undermines the ADA.

      Reply
      1. rldk

        I think we’re trying to get at “claiming mild allergies as a disability.” Like, if you get congested or sneezing fits that don’t actually endanger your health, just your comfort. Definitely not great to have, and probably can be covered by ADA, but by forcing the issue over something relatively minor, that may be a situation where the ADA becomes a cudgel against other people rather than a necessary protection.

        Reply
        1. Galatea

          I’m not trying to be pedantic here, but if you mean mild allergies, I’d appreciate it if you said mild allergies instead of “allergies”. I really do think a lot of people who haven’t dealt first hand with how dangerous allergies can be, and also how astonishingly aggro people can get over being asked to accommodate allergies, tend to discount how cruel people can be over relatively minor changes.

          Part of why I’m really adamant about how allergies are actually protected under the ADA is because I have vivid memories of having adults loudly “joke” about breaking into my younger sister’s public school after hours to smear peanut butter on the doorhandles, walls, and desks desks, because the school was implementing a peanut-free table and they really wanted to stick it to a couple of 8 year olds, or something. Having the fallback position of “the government says you’re not allowed to actively endanger a small child” was a pretty solid boon.

          Reply
    6. Observer

      I agree – mostly.

      The one thing wrong here is that your assumption that allergies definitely don’t fall under “real” disabilities”. But that’s not really the case. Some allergies really are severe enough to really need accommodation. And, it’s not just peanuts, either.

      Reply
  12. CmdrShepard4ever

    Yes this is a very tough call. I don’t know why but my initial reaction is similar to brainjacker that I feel OP should self select out of this job. I would be upset if a perk that was around for a while was taken away because of one employee. I would not want to be the reason everyone lost their ability to bring a dog to work. But like doodle said I wouldn’t expect someone in a wheelchair to not apply for a job because the office has a few stairs and no elevators if the person could work exclusively on the first floor. I guess if there is a way to accommodate both the OP and letting employees keep their dogs I think that would be a fair way to do it. But if the only way would be to force the company to ban all dogs that seems a bit heavy handed. Assuming that the company is not a dog grooming location, it would be pretty hard to argue legally that banning dogs is an unreasonable accommodation under ADA.

    Reply
    1. Manders

      I think wheelchair ramps are an analogy that doesn’t quite fit here, because they’re totally on the company to provide–no employees lose money if a wheelchair ramp gets installed in their workplace, and no one decides not to work at a company because their building has ramps. There aren’t that many disabilities where the workplace accommodation requires other people to make a major change to their lifestyles.

      I still think that OP has the legal right to a safe workplace, but I also think she has to be aware of the fact that starting your job by asking for a change this huge may have consequences. It would be really nice if this company allowed her to telework, that would be the best option.

      Reply
      1. anniemal

        I would self select out.
        Im highly allergic to dogs and if there was a dog friendly office with dog loving people, chances are the dander and fur and everything is in carpets, vents, on people’s clothes, etc.

        If OP is really and badly allergic then just clearing the dogs out might not help

        Reply
  13. Facepalm

    But why do you think you’d be a great fit for them and they for you if the culture of the company is they like dogs and want them in the office as a workplace perk/environment and you can’t be around dogs? That doesn’t sound like a great fit at all.

    Reply
    1. Genny

      A job is about way more than company culture. Maybe this is a step up from her current position. Maybe it’s a difficult field to break into and she has an “in” here. Maybe it has better pay or benefits. Maybe this position allows her to develop important new skills or she has important skills this company needs. All of those are valid reasons to pursue a job, even if there are aspects of it you don’t love.

      Reply
    2. Observer

      Because there is a LOT more to people that whether they love dogs or not.

      It could still be that the dogs are a deal breaker for practical reasons, but I can’t see that the culture specifically or the job generally would have to be a bad fit because they *like* dogs.

      Say the OP had an extreme allergy to gluten, would you say that an office where people LIKE pastry is a bad fit? On a cultural level, it’s pretty much the same thing. It’s just that with the gluten issue, it’s a LOT easier to accommodate in the vast majority of cases.

      Reply
  14. SassyAccountant

    I agree with “wat.” It isn’t so much what the company will and will not accommodate. They are legally bound not to withdraw an offer etc. BUT there are no laws the legally bound your new co-workers from ever liking you, including, you, really making you feel welcomed, if after many many years of being THE dog friendly work environment they no longer can be because of YOU. Would rationale people understand etc.? Yes and there maybe one or two who will but lets get real. Most people would not be in the situation. You know how people feel about their pets. If I were you I wouldn’t want to work there because of that dynamic. That’s a big chance your taking and call me a coward but I wouldn’t want to chance being “that” person in a brand new office.

    Reply
    1. Seriously?

      Also, the accommodation might not be ban all dogs and sanitize the office. It might be giving the OP her own office which is dog free or banning the dogs but not cleaning the office well enough to remove all allergens. OP might still suffer and have upset coworkers.

      Reply
      1. Cat

        I think I disagree with this. It’s a complicated situation and from a practical standpoint, I agree OP wouldn’t be welcome there. But OP has a right to make a living and jobs don’t grow on trees. Asking someone to self-select out of a job because of a health-related condition doesn’t sit right with me.

        Reply
    2. Kate 2

      Not to mention it could be really expensive for the dog owners. If they normally work long hours, which a lot of pet friendly companies seem to require, they will have to pay for dog walkers. OP could cost her coworkers a ton of money.

      Reply
      1. Snark

        I don’t think that’s really her problem to consider, though, except in the sense that it’s a reason a lot of her new coworkers might be a little cool towards her.

        Reply
    3. Amadeo

      Yes, this is the risk the OP is taking considering this job. Regardless of what is ‘right’ in this situation (and as I am coming from the perspective of having pets, my ‘right’ is not the same as someone who does not like cats or dogs), OP is running the risk of beginning her time at this place from an adversarial position. It’s simply easier to have a good relationship with your coworkers than it is to come in, ask for an accomodation that eliminates a perk that might have been Very ImportantTM to everyone else and end up working with people who work with you because they have to, but resent you.

      Reply
  15. MsVader

    This…actually pisses me off. You know that it’s a dog friendly office and you have zero tenure there but you would seriously consider potentially having the office have to ban dogs that were welcome before? This could mean people can no longer care for their pets in a way they feel they should. It’s not a policy that has arisen and you had no say – you are choosing to go into that environment which means you have a choice not to.

    Further saying that allergies are a type of disability is asinine. I have severe environmental and food allergies – it affects me negatively in a multitude of ways – but it is not a disability. I broke my ankle and leg last year – having to rely on crutches and a wheelchair is a disability albeit temporary. Peanut allergies may be different as to being a disability but aside from that, no.

    Reply
    1. Colette

      Dying from eating the wrong piece of food severely affects your life (e.g. you cannot run down to the shop on the corner to pick up a sandwich if you’re hungry) and qualifies as a disability. Going to a store and reacting to someone’s cologne to the point where you cannot breathe is a disability.

      Having said that, I think the OP would be better off to job hunt elsewhere. There is unlikely to be a good resolution in this situation – either she lives with the dogs and gets sick, or they get rid of the dogs and change the culture for her. Even having a separate option won’t likely help much if she has to interact with people who were petting a dog 30 seconds ago.

      Reply
    2. all aboard the anon train

      Yeah. I can’t breathe around cats, but I don’t consider it a disability. I just don’t go near cats. I get incredibly sick if I touch or ingest shellfish, but the most I’d do is ask that there’s no cross contamination in the shared fridge and avoid the cafeteria when they serve dishes with shellfish.

      It’s not the same as my medical disorders which keep me out of work for days on end when they flare up, and conflating is a bit insulting. One I can sort of control. The other I have no control over.

      Reply
    3. Tundra

      This. We have two office dogs. When hiring, I make sure all applicants are aware that we have dogs in the office. Hell, most times the dogs will greet applicants or sit in on the interview. The entire staff love these dogs and all see it as a huge perk to have them in the office.

      If someone were to come in, interview, get the job, and *then* demand that dogs be removed because of allergies… that person would be hated by the staff, and we’d probably lose other employees over it. Not out of pettiness, but because the dogs are a huge perk in an office environment that has many flaws.

      On the flip side, if a current employee suddenly developed severe dog allergies, then it’d be a different situation altogether and I don’t think anyone would think twice about banning the dogs in the office. The specifics here matter. OP, sounds like this just isn’t the right workplace for you.

      Reply
      1. Chameleon

        So you are totally okay with banning people with different opinions of dogs for working for you? I don’t understand why dog-friendly places can’t just have some spaces where the dogs can’t go. But then again I’m one of those MONSTERS who don’t like dogs.

        Reply
        1. Perse's Mom

          Well no, but based on this post you do seem to be one of those people who overreacts and willfully misinterprets things.

          Reply
      2. Susan Sto Helit

        Wow, I hadn’t considered that there might be a dog actually in the interview.

        On reflection, that would be smart from the company’s perspective though. Not to impose it, but a quick “hey, are you ok with a dog being in the room for the interview?”.

        That’s going to flag anyone who might struggle with a dog-friendly culture at an early stage, before formal offers of employment have been made and accepted. And if someone does have a dislike/allergy, it provides a good opportunity to discuss what accommodations might be needed there and then. (“Do you need us to provide an interview space entirely free of dog dander, or is it ok for us just to ensure that there are no dogs in the immediate vicinity?”) etc. Who knows, it might even turn out that they ALREADY have a separate area appropriate for people who can’t interact with dogs.

        Reply
    4. Genny