29 CFR 801.4 - Prohibitions on lie detector use.

§ 801.4 Prohibitions on lie detector use.

(a) Section 3 of EPPA provides that, unless otherwise exempt pursuant to section 7 of the Act and §§ 801.10 through 801.14 of this part, covered employers are prohibited from:

(1) Requiring, requesting, suggesting or causing, directly or indirectly, any employee or prospective employee to take or submit to a lie detector test;

(2) Using, accepting, or inquiring about the results of a lie detector test of any employee or prospective employee; and

(3) Discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, denying employment or promotion, or threatening any employee or prospective employee to take such action for refusal or failure to take or submit to such test, on the basis of the results of a test, for filing a complaint, for testifying in any proceeding, or for exercising any rights afforded by the Act.

(b) An employer who reports a theft or other incident involving economic loss to police or other law enforcement authorities is not engaged in conduct subject to the prohibitions under paragraph (a) of this section if, during the normal course of a subsequent investigation, such authorities deem it necessary to administer a polygraph test to an employee(s) suspected of involvement in the reported incident. Employers who cooperate with police authorities during the course of their investigations into criminal misconduct are likewise not deemed engaged in prohibitive conduct provided that such cooperation is passive in nature. For example, it is not uncommon for police authorities to request employees suspected of theft or criminal activity to submit to a polygraph test during the employee's tour of duty since, as a general rule, suspect employees are often difficult to locate away from their place of employment. Allowing a test on the employer's premises, releasing an employee during working hours to take a test at police headquarters, and other similar types of cooperation at the request of the police authorities would not be construed as “requiring, requesting, suggesting, or causing, directly or indirectly, any employee * * * to take or submit to a lie detector test.” Cooperation of this type must be distinguished from actual participation in the testing of employees suspected of wrongdoing, either through the administration of a test by the employer at the request or direction of police authorities, or through employer reimbursement of tests administered by police authorities to employees. In some communities, it may be a practice of police authorities to request employer testing of employees before a police investigation is initiated on a reported incident. In other communities, police examiners are available to employers, on a cost reimbursement basis, to conduct tests on employees suspected by an employer of wrongdoing. All such conduct on the part of employers is deemed within the Act's prohibitions.

(c) The receipt by an employer of information from a polygraph test administered by police authorities pursuant to an investigation is prohibited by section 3(2) of the Act. (See paragraph (a)(2) of this section.)

(d) The simulated use of a polygraph instrument so as to lead an individual to believe that an actual test is being or may be performed (e.g., to elicit confessions or admissions of guilt) constitutes conduct prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section. Such use includes the connection of an employee or prospective employee to the instrument without any intention of a diagnostic purpose, the placement of the instrument in a room used for interrogation unconnected to the employee or prospective employee, or the mere suggestion that the instrument may be used during the course of the interview.

[ 56 FR 9064, Mar. 4, 1991; 56 FR 14469, Apr. 10, 1991]

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