You and Your ESA are Protected by Federal Law

Posted by Rob J on May 4th, 2019

There is a lot of debate about what an official Emotional Support Animal (ESA) registration ensures you from a federal government and protection perspective. This is because there are a lot of groups out there that make claims that don't live up to their billing. The following are the protections you as someone who utilizes an ESA possess as long as you're legally compliant as it pertains to identification and registration of an ESA.

Equal Access on Airlines

This is covered under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA.) The Act prohibits commercial airlines from discriminating against passengers with disabilities. This includes official service animals as defined by law. Backing up the ACAA is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the protections it gives certain animals it considers “service animals” and fair accommodation.

Since 2013, the US Department of Transportation has required all domestic and foreign air carriers to have disabled-persons accessible websites and Kiosks. This requirement would fall under the broader ACAA nondiscrimination requirements as they pertain to individuals with disabilities and by extension their service animal and access to kiosks.

Fair Housing Access

The Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968, protects buyers and renters from a seller or landlord discriminating against anyone who belongs to a “protected class” (defined as sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, genetic information, marital status or sexual orientation.) The primary goal of the Act was to create an equal housing market that does not give preference to one group over another or reduces the chances of consideration of one group based on the criteria above.

Under the Fair Housing Act, people with disabilities are protected from housing discrimination. Under the definitions of people with disabilities, those with disabilities who require a legally compliant service animal (including an ESA,) is protected from discrimination in housing.

(14 CFR 382.55 (a))

Under this statute in the Code of Federal Regulations, air carriers are required to permit service animals used by individuals with disabilities to accompany the person on a flight. In addition, carriers shall accept a service identification card, written documentation, harnesses or markings on a harness that indicates the animal in question is a service animal, such as an ESA vest dog, tags or the word of the person with the disability using the animal.

Individuals with an ESA are afforded certain rights under federal law, including protection against discrimination in air travel and housing. There are multiple criteria that help define the qualifications of an ESA. One easy way to make sure your rights are respected is to register your ESA today!

Like it? Share it!

Rob J

About the Author

Rob J
Joined: May 4th, 2019
Articles Posted: 4

More by this author