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Employee Polygraph Protection Act

by The Human Equation, Inc. on 10/13/2008
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As a result of an ongoing investigation into inventory theft, my organization has identified one employee as the sole suspect. Does the Employee Polygraph Protection Act have an exemption that allows me to give this employee a voice stress analyzer test?

No. Subject to some very limited exemptions, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 (EPPA) makes it unlawful for any employer engaged in or affecting commerce to, directly or indirectly, require, request, suggest, or cause any employee or prospective employee to take or submit to any lie detector test. One such exemption is reserved for ongoing investigations involving economic loss or injury to the employer's business, such as theft or embezzlement. If all of the conditions are strictly satisfied, the employer may request that the reasonably suspected employee submit to a polygraph test, but not to a voice stress analyzer test.

The exemption for ongoing investigations allows only a polygraph test, which is defined as an instrument that records-continuously, visually, permanently, and simultaneously-changes in cardiovascular, respiratory, and electrodermal patterns as minimum instrumentation standards and that is used for the purpose of rendering a diagnostic opinion regarding the honesty or dishonesty of an individual. Other types of lie detector tests are not allowed under this exemption, including a voice stress analyzer. Accordingly, employers wishing to administer a form of lie detector test to an employee under the ongoing investigations exemption are limited only to polygraph tests because no other form of lie detector test is allowed under this exemption.

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Categories: 2008


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