Human Resources

Guidelines for Pets in the WHOI Workplace

Policy Information
  • Issue Date: October 16, 2000
  • Primary Contact: Director of Human Resources
  • Responsible Member of Directorate: President and Director
  • Responsible Office: Human Resources
Policy Information

It is the policy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to provide a safe, non threatening and healthy working environment for all employees in the conduct of oceanographic research in the Institution's laboratories and support facilities and on board the Institution's research vessels.  With the exception of service animals for individuals with disabilities, having pets in the workplace is a privilege, not a right.  It is the responsibility of any individual who is uncomfortable with a particular pet to be certain his/her needs or feelings are communicated appropriately.

Whenever possible, this issue should be discussed with the pet owner or reported to the immediate supervisor.  However, when such a route is not appropriate, the incident should be reported to someone else, such as the department head, the Ombuds/EEO Officer, Human Resources or the Safety Office.

In an effort to respond to concerns of health (especially allergies), fear and safety concerning pets, including but not limited to dogs in the workplace, the guidelines are:

  • In order to accommodate individuals with a disability, service animals are permitted on the premises.
  • The supervisor of a laboratory or other work area is responsible for the decisions about pets in that area and resolving problems that may arise.  As noted above, should the supervisor be the pet owner, the department head or other supervisor of the pet owner is responsible for determining the appropriateness of having a pet in the workplace and resolving any problems that may arise.
  • In accordance with the Institution Safety Manual, pets are not allowed in labs where hazardous materials are used, or in other work areas where a potentially hazardous work environment exists, such as shops or high bays.
  • Pets are not allowed aboard Institution research vessels.
  • Pets are not allowed in common use areas including but not limited to conference rooms, rest rooms, the Buttery, the shuttle, and copy rooms.
  • Only clean, trained, well behaved, non aggressive pets are allowed on the premises.
  • It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that pets relieve themselves outside, and to clean up after the pet and dispose of the pet's waste properly.  All indoor accidents are also the responsibility of the owner and not of the cleaning service.
  • Pets are to be leashed or in a closed office or cubicle.
  • A sign must be posted so any visitor will expect a pet in the area.
  • All pets must be healthy and pose no health risk to humans as carriers of active infections, parasites, etc.
  • Owners must comply with all State and Town of Falmouth laws and ordinances governing licensing, vaccinations, and control, and have proof of compliance available at all times.
Individuals having a problem with a pet a work must take responsibility for bringing the issue to the attention of the pet owner or the pet owner's supervisor.  Pet owners must be respectful and responsive to their co-workers and colleagues by taking responsibility for correcting any such problems.

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