Dear Blue Collar,
One of our injured workers brings his pet to the office as part of a modified work arrangement. The man in question is presently on WCB for PTSD caused by a confrontation with his supervisor. He reluctantly agreed to recover at work, but only on condition that his pet ferret join him.
I was stunned by the ultimatum, but we gave it a shot. Things were fine at first, but soon others began complaining about exotic noises and foul odors. Worse yet, the animal escaped and terrorized numerous staff members at one point. What now?
(A) Animal-therapy is trending, but admittedly this marks my first encounter with ferret therapy. Indeed employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate disability in the workplace per WCB and human rights legislation — that is, to a point of undue hardship. In your case, permitting an animal on the property to soothe one person’s nerves is causing an equal and opposite reaction among others.
The escapee ferret is a demonstrable safety risk, could trigger serious allergies, and is clearly a major distraction. Moreover, WCB would most certainly object to the ferret being used as a bargaining chip. My suggestion is to put the ferret on notice while considering other means of job accommodation.