CUNA’s compliance staff was recently asked a question about a credit unions’ obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding service animals. While credit unions want to ensure members are protected from discrimination, they also want to maintain a safe environment for all members.
The ADA defines "service animal" as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.”
The ADA also states that the work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.
Generally, a credit union may not make inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
A credit union must not ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal.
If it is not readily apparent why the individual is accompanied by a dog, a credit union may ask:
A credit union must not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.
While a credit union must modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability, there are some exceptions.
A credit union may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if:
If a credit union properly excludes a service animal, it must give the individual with a disability the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on the premises.
Additional details and information can be found on a CUNA CompBlog post.