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. Contactus if you have any questions about this or any aspect of employment law.