The EPPA prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. Employers generally may not require or request any employee or job applicant to take a lie detector test, or discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee or job applicant for refusing to take a test or for exercising other rights under the Act. Employers may not use or inquire about the results of a lie detector test or discharge or discriminate against an employee or job applicant on the basis of the results of a test, or for filing a complaint, or for participating in a proceeding under the Act. Subject to restrictions, the Act permits polygraph (a type of lie detector) tests to be administered to certain job applicants of security service firms (armored car, alarm, and guard) and of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and dispensers.
Subject to restrictions, the Act also permits polygraph testing of certain employees of private firms who are reasonably suspected of involvement in a workplace incident (theft, embezzlement, etc.) that resulted in specific economic loss or injury to the employer. Where polygraph examinations are allowed, they are subject to strict standards for the conduct of the test, including the pretest, testing and post-testing phases. An examiner must be licensed and bonded or have professional liability coverage. The Act strictly limits the disclosure of information obtained during a polygraph test.
Compliance Assistance Materials
- Employment Law Guide – Lie Detector Tests – Provides a summary of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA).
- Filing a Complaint – To file a complaint concerning a law enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, including the EPPA, contact your nearest Wage and Hour Division office or call the Department’s Toll-Free Wage and Hour HelpLine at 1-866-4-US-WAGE.
29 CFR Part 801 Subpart D – Each employer who, relying on an exemption, requests or administers a polygraph test to an employee or applicant must maintain records setting forth the specific activity or incident which is the basis of the testing, notices setting forth the time and place of the testing and the employee’s rights, and copies of reports and other documents provided by the examiner.