On May 12, 2022, Michigan passed Public Act 75 of 2022 (the “Act”). This Act amended Michigan’s Penal Code to require places of public accommodation to modify their policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal in training. Previously, only service animals themselves were required to be accommodated under Michigan law. A place of public accommodation that violates this Act’s requirements are guilty of a misdemeanor. The Act comes into effect on or around March 29, 2023.
Does this mean we will suddenly see a lot of dogs and miniature horses roaming wild and free around our offices? No, definitely not. But, here’s what you need to know.
The Act only applies to “places of public accommodation” as defined by federal regulation 28 CFR § 36.104. A place of public accommodation typically includes all private businesses that offer goods and services to the public. Think of places like grocery stores, movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, etc. A private manufacturing plant or office building is unlikely to qualify as a place of public accommodation unless a single area or part of a facility meets the definition of a place of public accommodation.
If your business is a place of public accommodation, then you are required to allow service animals in training into your facility. The only two types of service animals in training are dogs and miniature horses that meet certain requirements. The trainer must keep the animal under control through the use of a tether, leash or voice control, and show that the animal is there for the purpose of training or socializing the animal. You are not required to allow pets in the facility. The service animal in training cannot be removed because of allergies or fear of the animal, but can be removed if they are out of control or are not housebroken.
For businesses that already accommodate service animals, please keep in mind that Michigan law will soon require you to allow service animals in training as well. For private employers operating in private facilities not open to the public, you will not likely have to permit service animals in training in the workplace. However, before you deny your employee’s request, you should conduct an analysis to confirm that you are not a “public place of accommodation.”