A polygraph examination, better known as “lie detector” is a device designed to determine whether someone is lying by analyzing several factors, including blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity.
Polygraph examiners are often excellent investigators and interviewers whose work is vital in analyzing someone’s integrity. But before deciding whether to engage a polygraph examiner, we recommend you consider the issues that surround the use of polygraph examinations.
There are several key issues to consider when discussing the use of polygraph examinations. Firstly, polygraph evidence is inadmissible in court. Second, under most circumstances, employers are not allowed to administer polygraph testing on employees. Why? In 1988, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) became law. This Federal law established strict guidelines for polygraph testing and imposed restrictions on most private employers. Therefore, the decision to engage a polygraph examiner hinges on the likeliness that the employee will be cooperative and will consent to the polygraph test.
First, consult with your labor and employment attorney on whether to consider using a Polygraph Examiner in a workplace investigation. We recommend obtaining a copy of the Employer Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 to become familiar with existing laws that cover polygraph testing.
Another solution is to consider an investigative interview instead of a polygraph examination. Our skillful investigators specialize in investigative interviews and can match or surpass the results of a team of polygraph examiners. We rely on counterintuitive, relaxed and provably non-coercive interviews to get results. Our interviewers have handled cases involving most kinds of employee malfeasance, from theft and drug sales to corporate espionage and sabotage.
A labor attorney representing an accounting firm contacted our office regarding an employee they believed had stolen thousands of dollars in cash from a locked safe. The attorney was calling to inquire about having the employee submit to a polygraph examination. The employee affirmed their innocence and stated they would not be willing to comply and take a polygraph examination.
We recommended that a senior partner at our firm interview the accused employee. Over the course of our interview with the employee, we received an admission of guilt. The employee documented the theft in a written declaration taken under the penalty of perjury. The employee also returned the stolen funds to their employer.