While there are many employers who are conducting polygraph tests while hiring or even in the phase of employment, it is actually not allowed. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPAA) prevents employers from taking these kinds of tests for any reason. Even in case of using this test, there are many things to consider and the employer cannot take an action or discriminate the employee from the rest in any way. The employers also cannot inquire about the results and cannot discriminate the person based on the results. This being said, EPAA allows some private firms to conduct polygraph test in case of any theft or accidents or injuries or any sort of economic loss where investigation is required.
Who can use Polygraph tests?
The EPAA does not allow any government or federal or state governments including the Police to take the polygraph test.
Private firms that can take up polygraph test include companies that provide security services or those who design security services etc. Basically those who are involved in safety and health conditions in any state or form.
Pharmaceuticals and manufacturers of controlled substances can also take up the polygraph test.
Polygraph for Employment
While using polygraph test, the employer does not have the rights to inquire about the results of the test. They also cannot discriminate the person from other candidates based on the test results. Subject to some restrictions, when polygraph tests are conducted in case of theft or injury or any economic loss to the employer.
Even in that case, the employee still has the right to employment. The employer cannot force the employee to take the test if he is not willing to take it up. In this case, you just note the suspicion created by the employee.
The information received from this test can only be taken as a basis or support for any investigation and hence, the employee cannot be dismissed.
While conducting this test, the employee can be questioned more than once as the success of the test is based on how the questions are composed and formed. While conducting test, the noise, language and distraction also play a role.
If the employee agrees, a polygraph test can be conducted for a pre-employment case. It is a routine also to consider this as a pre-employment requirement to detect if the person is suitable for the position. While using this for pre-employment, the employer is avoiding a negative hiring also. This is quite helpful in knowing the intentions of the person before hiring.
Once the test is conducted, the employer and polygraph examiner must retain the records for a period of 3 years from the date of the test. In case of this test being conducted to check on employer’s economic loss or injury, a copy of the statement that sets the incident which lead to this test must also be retained.