Polygraph Tests

With accuracy rates between 50 and 90 percent, polygraph tests have little, if any value. The Federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 ended the use of polygraphs in selection and greatly restricts its use in other situations. The employer may not:

· directly or indirectly indicate a test measuring honesty can be administered

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· use, accept, refer to, or inquire about the results of a test

· discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee who refuses to take or who fails a polygraph test

Exempted employers include those that provide security or protect nuclear facilities; ship or store toxic substances; or protect public transportation, negotiable instrument, and the like.

A private employer may have an investigation exemption to test current employees if:

· the test administered is in connection with workplace theft or incident investigation.

· the employee had reasonable access to the missing property or loss incurred.

· the employer had reasonable suspicion that this employee was involved. Suspicion is defined as observable, articulable basis in fact indicating employee.

· the employee is given written information about the basis for the investigation.

Generally, the employee cannot waive protection of the act.


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