The B usiness & Disability Bulletin

disability is our business







Volume 8 Issue 2 September 2015  

In This Issue
ADA & Service Animals
Disability Etiquett @ Work
New Resource
We're Your Local Experts
Join Our Mailing List
ADA & Service Animals:
September is National Service Dog Month 
service dog on harness A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:
  • assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks
  • alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds
  • providing non-violent protection or rescue work
  • pulling a wheelchair
  • assisting an individual during a seizure
  • alerting individuals to the presence of allergens
  • retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
  • providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities
  • helping individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors
The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks for purposes of the definition of a service animal.

Asking Questions: 
To determine if an animal is a service animal, a public entity or a private business may ask two questions:
  • Is this animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has this animal been trained to perform?
These questions may not be asked if the need for the service animal is obvious (e.g., the dog is guiding an individual who is blind or is pulling a person's wheelchair). A public entity or private business may not ask about the nature or extent of an individual's disability or require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal, or require the animal to wear an identifying vest.  
Links for more information about service animals and the ADA:

Department of Justice Fact Sheet on ADA & Service Animals 

FAQs: Service Animals and the ADA

Check out this video of our intern, Jessica, talking about service dog etiquette: 

Disability Etiquette @ Work
Looking for a fun yet meaningful way to introduce the topic of disability as a workplace diversity issue at your next team meeting?  Or maybe you need something innovative to add to your organization's internal newsletter?  Look no further!  This 3 1/2 minute captioned training video is sure to spark conversation.

New Resource
The US Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment has created a new booklet called Inclusive Internship Programs:  A How-To Guide for Employers
3 business people in conversation. Text: Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-to Guide for Employers This guide details the benefits that inclusive internship programs bring to employers. For example, internships allow businesses to tap into a diverse pool of talent that brings fresh thinking and innovation, to develop a recruitment pipeline, and to provide leadership opportunities for existing staff with management potential.
We Are Your Local
ADA & Disability Experts!

Did you know that Disability Network Southwest Michigan staff are available to consult with you on ADA related questions? We provide a wide range of services, from free technical assistance to full on-site ADA compliance evaluations to workplace diversity training.

Download a copy of our brochure to learn more or contact Michele McGowen at or (269) 345-1516 x116.  


The Business & Disability Bulletin is a free electronic newsletter for business leaders and human resource professionals in Southwest Michigan who believe in the value of an inclusive workforce and in creating a welcoming customer environment.


This newsletter is published bi-annually by Disability Network Southwest Michigan. Previous editions of this newsletter can be found on our website.