Case 267 – Not allowed to fill and empty a working dog’s water bowl in the workplace sink

Enquirer is deaf and has a Hearing Dog who accompanies her into the workplace. First thing in the morning she empties the dog’s water bowl and refills it with fresh water using the sink in the kitchen/chill out area which is located nearest to her. She has been told that she can not do this as it’s against health and safety and will upset the other employees. She is expected to take the bowl of water into the toilet which is through three doors, two of which are operated by a pass system to dispose of the water and then collect cups of water from the kitchen to fill the bowl at her desk.

Panel decision
There are no health and safety regulations which could conceivably stop the filling or emptying of a working dog’s water bowl in a kitchen area. The employer should be challenged to reconsider their decision and to explain why they felt it necessary to implement the ban – they cannot hide this one behind health and safety.

The employer also needs to consider whether this imposed restriction is consistent with making reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to work.