I'm on record as saying when an employee asks for something look for a way to say yes. If you come to me and say you want to bring an emotional support clown to a meeting--any meeting--I will look for a way to say no.
But Human Resources people in New Zealand are nicer than I am. Or perhaps, they were blindsided and were so freaked out they didn't know how to respond. I don't know.
Joshua Jack, a New Zealand ad man, received a notification to attend a meeting and said he could bring along an emotional support person. So he did -- a clown.
The New Zealand Herald reports:
The Herald understands that the clown blew up balloons and folded them into a series of animals throughout the meeting.
It's further understood that the clown mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over to the staffer.
No. No. And also, no. And I'm sure that the person who wrote the invitation assumed this emotional support person would be a spouse or a friend, not Pennywise.
Do you have to allow an emotional support clown (or animal)?
The company invited Jack to bring an emotional support person, and this is New Zealand, where employment laws are different. But, in the US, would the law force you to accept an emotional support clown?
The short answer is no. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires you to make reasonable accommodations for someone with a disability, but it does not define emotional support animals (or clowns). Service animals perform a specific function, but emotional support animals do not.
Workplaces aren't required to accept service animals if it wouldn't be reasonable or another solution exists. But, it's often the best reasonable solution to allow an employee their service animal.
But another human? You don't (generally) even have the right to bring in your attorney for a workplace meeting. (This can vary based on state law and union contracts, but as a general rule, you can't force your attorney into a meeting). I'm going to extrapolate from that information that, in the United States, you don't have to let someone bring a clown into a disciplinary meeting.
A deaf employee may be entitled to a sign language translator, but otherwise, the requirements for additional humans are minimal.
And please don't let this be a trend. Please no.