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1239 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  ILGHAUS
I have a question regarding service dog access. I work in an optometric (eye doctor) office. We have patients who come in with service dogs.

A bit of background. There is an employee who invariably attempts to socialize with the dogs. I have said to her multiple times that the dogs are working and she should not attempt to socialize with the dogs without at minimum seeking permission from the handler. She continues to do so :(. I have tried to explain that she is encouraging the dog to go against it's training and putting the handler in a potentially dangerous situation. Any suggestions on how to handle this situation (besides whacking her my urge of late
)? My concern is also for the doctor who owns the practice and any repercussions to him.

My second question is this same person loudly and openly in the waiting room asked a person with a service dog what their disability was
. Again, my concern goes to the doctor's liability from this type of question.

Please educate me so I can approach the doctor with correct information.
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Unless they are in a position to really make your life ****. Be very blunt with this person. If you know one of the patients that are waiting, try to talk to them real quick to confront the woman about what she is doing.

After trying to be nice I would lay out all the cards.

The doctor should also know already the rules for a working animal.
I say the DR needs to be made aware of this, he is in the back working and unless someone tells him what is going on out front he will never correct this. I have always known that you can not pet or anything with a service animal unless its owner said so first, I remember when I was a kid that one said sorry he is working and other times yes let me give him a command so he knows he is not working. But I agree this person needs to be told bluntly now that they are in the wrong
The DR you work for should speak to your co-worker. She has already ignored you.

She has already violated the rights of the person with the dog - I am sure the DR would want to right this wrong.
I absolutely agree that the doctor should know. IMMEDIATELY. The doctor is liable for the acts of his employees.

Asking a patient in front of other patients about their medical conditions is probably one of the finest violations of HIPAA that I can dream up. And it doesn't matter whether YOUR doctor is treating the patient for the condition that creates the disability. As you know, doctor-patient confidentiality is airtight with few exceptions.

Yes, That IS a good one. Federal investigation. Lawsuit.

Along those lines, depending who I am and how sensitive I am, treating me differently because I use certain medical "equipment" might make me inclined to complain to the medical board (or worse). Does this employee touch other (able-bodied) patients? Does she mess around with the canes, crutches, wheelchairs and oxygen equipment of other PWDs? No? Then I'm being singled out? Hmm. PWDs don't like being singled out. We want to be treated just like everyone else.

I used to work in an industry where there were a few PWD that would travel around and check out facilities just to make sure they were treated exactly as they should be under the law. You could run a federal docket check and see all the lawsuits they have filed. They didn't want money; they wanted equal access and equal treatment. They felt that they couldn't get it any other way, so they used the courts.

The fact is, there are many PWD that have better things to do than complain to the business owner. So your employer may simply lose a patient. ("simply" as though your employer would be satisfied to lose ANY patients). But there are PWD who get pretty fed up and this is the last straw. Or, they are leaders of the movement who ensure the rest of us get what we're entitled to. Then, your employer might have to deal with governmental investigations and/or actual malpractice lawsuits.

My doctor's office should be the ONE place that I'm free from all harassment, judgement and general idiocy related to my disability (ies).

I've worked with physicians defending themselves in investigations and litigation. What your coworker is doing is rude, troublesome, and unethical. It can also get your employer into a lot of trouble.

You're wise to recognize that what's going on isn't right for ANYONE. Your employer needs to know asap.
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I see you are also in FL. Here our state law also is very strict on people who by their actions bother in any manner a working dog while it is on the job.
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