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    Service Animals in the Workplace

    Date: November 15, 2018, 11:00am – 1:00pm
    Corral de Tierra Country Club
    81 Corral de Tierra Rd
    Corral de Tierra, CA 93908
    $35 for members/$40 for non-members (if registered by 11/8/18); $50 walk in rate at the door
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    Service Animals in the Workplace


    Tara Presnell, Littler Mendelson and

    Wallis Brozman and Robert Schwinn, Canine Companions

    November 15th, 2018




    Suppose you are sitting at your desk, working away, and an employee asks for a meeting. Of course, you agree (you do have an “open door” policy), and the employee asks you if he can bring his dog to work. You ask why, and he proceeds to tell you that he is suffering from anxiety, and that he has a “service dog” that reduces his anxiety, allowing him to do his job.

    This may sound far-fetched, but this basic scenario is playing out with increasing frequency in workplaces across California. Employees may have a protected legal right under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or its California equivalent, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), to bring a service animal to the workplace.


    Tara L. Presnell's practice focuses on employment law on the management side. She has represented employers in many different industries, including: • Retail • Hospitality • Transportation • Manufacturing Tara has defended companies in discrimination, harassment, whistleblower, and class and collective actions in both federal and state courts, as well as for matters in arbitration and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She also provides advice and counseling for employers. Tara served as law clerk to the Hon. James D. Todd, chief judge of the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. In law school, she was the president and vice-president of the Student Bar Association, and a member of the Pepperdine Law Review.

    Wallis Brozman has a form of dystonia, a generalized movement disorder that causes painful muscle contractions and abnormal involuntary spasms. The disorder has impacted the muscles around her vocal cords, limiting her voice to little more than a whisper. Wallis also has an auditory processing disorder and primarily communicates in American Sign Language. She graduated from Gallaudet University, the only 4-year university serving the Deaf and hard of hearing, with a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a focus on disability.

    In 2016, Wallis was paired with her second Canine Companions service dog, Mork, who has followed in his predecessor’s footsteps, learning 55 commands in American Sign Language and drastically improving wellbeing and independence for Wallis. The duo have made appearances at the Chicago Auto Show, commercials and other professional outreach events and campaigns. Wallis is an inaugural member of the Canine Companions national speakers bureau and is passionate about disability and service dog advocacy. Wallis works in corporate marketing at Canine Companions.

    Robert Schwinn is a legal services professional with a background in disability law and estate law. He currently serves as the national coordinator of legal services and planned giving as well as corporate secretary at Canine Companions for Independence. Much of his work focuses on public access issues and legislation for service dogs.

    Robert has a BA in philosophy from Sonoma State University and a Masters in legal studies from Empire Law School. His passion for law and public service make his position at Canine Companions unique and rewarding. 

    Join us to learn more!