Employment Polygraphs

Have you been told that you have to take a lie detector test as either a part of getting a job or keeping the job that you have? Your employer, whether in Georgia or anywhere else, probably can’t do that, and, even if you take the test, probably can’t use the test to affect your job.

Under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, passed in 1998, formerly administered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration until it was abolished in November, now administered directly by the Secretary of Labor, employers engaged in interstate commerce are generally prevented from using lie detector tests either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exemptions.

The Act defines lie detectors as including a polygraph, deceptograph, voice stress analyzer, psychological stress evaluator or similar device (whether mechanical or electrical) used to render a diagnostic opinion as to the honesty or dishonesty of an individual.

Under this Act, an employer cannot:

–Require, request, suggest or cause an employee or prospective employee to take or submit to any lie detector test.

–Use, accept, refer to, or inquire about the results of any lie detector test of an employee or prospective employee.

–Discharge, discipline, discriminate against, deny employment or promotion, or threaten to take any such action against an employee or prospective employee for refusal to take a test, on the basis of the results of a test, for filing a complaint, for testifying in any proceeding or for exercising any rights afforded by the Act.

Exempted from this law are federal, state, and local governments, and federal contractors who are engaged in national security work or who are otherwise engaged in national security positions.

Other exemptions include prospective employees of armored car companies and other people who would be handling cash and securities, prospective employees of drug companies who would be handling controlled substances, or an employee who is suspected of damaging company property.

Also, anyone administering such a test has to be licensed to do so by the state, and the employee must be given written notice, among other restrictions.

If you have been asked to take a lie detector test improperly, you have a cause of action under this Act. Contact us if you have any questions about this or any aspect of employment law.