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Can your employer force you to do a lie detector test?

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Employment Law For Employees |

When companies want to see who they can trust, they will turn to numerous different methods.

One such potential method? The use of lie detector tests. Even if it is not entirely common, it still occurs.

Why are lie detector tests used?

Traditionally, many companies will resort to background checks to see if they netted the right employee. However, according to the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, some may want you to take a lie detector test. Fortunately, you do have protections.

Protection for many workers

Your employer cannot make you take any lie detector tests if it is a condition of employment. If they ask you, you have the right to not only refuse but to file a complaint. The EPPA protects you against retaliation on the part of the employer as well, and it prohibits them from refusing your application just due to your refusal to take the test.

Do exceptions exist?

Unfortunately, the EPPA does not apply if the employer you have is a government agency. For security services or certain pharmaceutical positions, it also does not apply.

This allows for the use of lie detector tests if an employee falls under suspicion of committing crimes against the company that may have caused substantial damage.

However, in general, if you apply for a job in the private employment sector, you should not have to take a lie detector test. Your potential employer may instead use other measures to determine your trustworthiness and potential fit as an employee in the company.