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General

Polygraph Tests and Employment

Polygraph Tests and Employment

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.

lie detector tests

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.

General

Polygraph Test Reduced to Numbers

Polygraph Test Reduced to Numbers

The search for truth is the driving force that causes every scientific endeavor to progress. This establishes the connection between truth and science. But telling the truth may deviate from what is scientifically acceptable. It is because in some cases, truth is relative. Its veracity depends on certain factors such as integrity and motivation. That is why, it is very important that there should be a truth detector. But science has provided us with one —- the lie detector test.

The lie detector test is the only scientific approach in determining a deceptive statement. It is the only resort to investigators, after all effort failed to establish connection gaps in information, hoping to force something straight from the horse’s mouth. But how reliable is the lie detector test? How effective and accepted is it? Let the numbers show.

lie detector test

Reliability

Reliability has something to do with consistency. The reliability of the polygraph test points to how consistent or accurate it is in determining deception based on the psychophysiological changes recorded by the instrument itself. The reliability of the polygraph test is a few percent short of 100% reliability. The reliability index is from 0.95 to 0.98, which translates to 95% to 98% accuracy. The index may be high but when talking about the truth, anything that is less than 100% true is a lie. However, the accuracy index should not be interpreted that way. This index might have been taken from collective and generalized findings.

But courts would not risk their decisions and allow admission of a polygraph test as an evidence with this percentage of accuracy polygraph can offer. The courts demand that everything presented to them is 100% true — nothing less than it.

Extent of Use

The effectivity of polygraph test as an esteemed instrument for whatever purpose is determined by its continued use. We need research data here. The APA Research Center at the Michigan State University conducted a survey involving 699 police executives from all over the United States to determine the extent of and conditions in which polygraph testing is being used. Results showed that 62% of these executives had active polygraph screening program in their respective police agencies, 31% did not have active polygraph testing program, and 7% ceased to operate with the program. These figures translate to the respondents’ confidence in using polygraph testing the whatever end they thought it was necessary.

Inconclusive Component

Gavin Wilson, an Australian police officer who had his polygraph testing training in the US, believe that the polygraph test is still relevant and useful for the Australian police. As a polygraph examiner, he said that the polygraph is 96 per cent accurate. However, he also disclosed that 3% of the composition of the polygraph test is inconclusive. The 3% inconclusive component pertain to those questions that do not contribute to the findings or results of the test and are influenced by extraneous variables such as the age of the subjects. However, he failed to identify these components of polygraph test.

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