The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating a complaint filed by Disability Rights Oregon on behalf of the Givens family.  Eric and Wendy Givens are in a battle against the Hillsboro School District in Oregon over whether or not their autistic son, Scooter, age 9, may bring his service dog to school.  The District argues that the dog is not necessary for Scooter’s classroom education.  The Givens say the dog improves their son’s access to education by keeping him calm.  The debate also hinges on whether Scooter’s dog is considered a service or a therapy animal.  If Scooter’s dog is classified as a service animal, then the District may be ordered to allow the dog to attend school with Scooter.  Full article.

The Americans With Disabilities Act does not cover therapy animals.  However, therapy animals are growing in popularity and are often used in hospitals to comfort patients and in schools where children read to them. The training is not as extensive as it is for a service animal.  The Americans With Disabilities Act describes a service animal as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.”  It is important to know and understand your rights if you are disabled.  Please visit the EEOC’s website for further information:  www.eeoc.gov

The attorneys at Leeds Morelli & Brown, P.C., dedicate a large amount of their practice to employment discrimination claims.  For any questions, contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-800-585-4658. Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C.’s website is located at www.lmblaw.com.