When people hear the term "service animal" they almost automatically default to a vision of a service dog. However, there are a number of other animals that provide service to the disabled. For instance, since at least the 1970s people with spinal cord and other mobility impairments have received highly trained capuchin monkeys. The only service animal, other than a dog, recognized by federal law is a miniature horse. As more and more medical providers explore the benefits of service and support animals, additional species are added to list. Have you heard of therapy chickens? It is a real thing.
Or..."Florida's Ignorance Continues Unabated"
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is quite clear when it comes to the issue of equal access. Owners, managers and employees are forbidden from denying full and equal access based on a number of categories, including race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and disability. When it comes to people with disabilities who use service animals, the effect of the law is that animal, be it a guide dog or other type of service animal, and its owner cannot be denied access. This applies to restaurants, shopping centers, rental properties, schools and just about property on which members of the public can go. Federal law likewise prohibits people from denying access to service animals and their owners.
Disability discrimination is a serious matter and it goes well beyond the visual and verbal.
Recently University of Southern California head football coach Steve Sarkisian filed a lawsuit against the university alleging that he had been wrongfully terminated because of his disability, alcoholism. This raises the interesting question as to whether alcoholism is a protected status and what obligations employers have towards alcoholic employees.
New Jersey Civil Rights and School Harassment Trial Lawyer Discusses Kentucky Sheriff's Officer Handcuffing Disabled Boy and ACLU Suit
"Or . . . Are You Really Surprised?"
A student, H.W., has sued the Sterling High School for discipline involving a "banishment" from the prom, senior trip and commencement. The punishment came as a result of a "tweet" calling the high school principal a "pussy ass bitch." H.W. asserts that she has "oppositional defiant disorder" (ODD), and that this conduct by her was a consequence of that disorder (somewhat similar to an outburst linked to tourettes syndrome). Moreover, and notwithstanding the argument about disability, the student also claims that she has a constitutional right to tweet what she would about the principal.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency in charge of enforcing the employment laws that bar discrimination based on several protected classes, including but not limited to race, gender, age and disability. According to the agency, there were 93,727 claims filed this past fiscal year running from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013.