Employers often look for employees who are trustworthy and honest. Many companies have strict pre-employment screenings to help them weed out anyone who may not fit their idea of a reliable person.
While many companies decide to use background checks, some may wish to give you a lie detector test. But the Employee Polygraph Protection Act likely protects you from having to go through this.
Most workers protected
If you work for a private employer, meaning it is not a government-related organization or agency, then under the EPPA, your employer cannot make you take a lie detector test as a condition of employment. If asked, you have the right to refuse or file a complaint on the request, and the EPPA also protects you against retaliation and prohibits the employer from refusing to hire you due to you not taking the test.
Exceptions to the rule
The EPPA does not apply to you if the employer is a government agency. It also does not apply to certain professions that involve working in security services or some pharmaceutical positions.
The law also allows the use of a lie detector test in situations where an employee is under suspicion of committing a crime against the company that led to substantial damages.
In general, when you apply for a job with a private employer, you should never have to take a lie detector test. The employer can use other measures allowable by law to check into your character and background to determine your trustworthiness as a potential employee.