Wendi Sorensen is an experienced litigator and insurance defense attorney at Burch & Cracchiolo. Wendi has been selected as a Southwest Super Lawyer every year since 2012 and was named one of the Top 25 Women Attorneys in Arizona by Super Lawyers in 2013.
Q: Some of my employees want to bring their dogs to work. What are my potential risks from a legal standpoint if I choose to allow this?
A: The biggest concern about bringing dogs to the workplace is the possibility that one of the dogs could bite a customer. Arizona law generally holds the owner of the dog liable, rather than holding liable the possessor of the property on which the bite occurred. That said, a person suffering a dog bite at your place of business could argue that a dangerous condition existed on your premises, which resulted in the injury. A person coming to your business, typically referred to as a business invitee, can successfully sue if you fail to exercise reasonable care to protect him from any unreasonable risk of harm of which you know or should have discovered, and which he likely would not have discovered himself. In other words, when your customer pets Fluffy and gets a surprise bite on his hand in return, you may be legally liable.