On December 27, 1988, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) became law. This federal law established guidelines for polygraph testing and imposed restriction on most private employers. This legislation only affects commercial businesses. Local, State and Federal governmental agencies (such as police departments) are not affected by the law, nor are public agencies, such as a school system or correctional institution.

There are two types of exams typically used by employers, the Pre-Employment Polygraph Exam and the Specific Loss Polygraph Exam:


Pre-Employment Polygraph TestIn general, businesses cannot request, suggest or require any job applicant to take a pre-employment polygraph examination. Nevertheless, there are some EPPA exemptions for some commercial businesses:

1. Businesses under contract with the Federal Government involving specified activities (e.g., counterintelligence work).

2. Businesses whose primary purpose consists of providing armored car personnel, security alarm, personnel involved in the design, or security personnel in facilities which have a significant impact on the health or safety, national security, or currency and other like instruments. Examples of these facilities would be a nuclear or electric power plant, public water works, or toxic waste disposal.

3. Companies which manufacture, distribute or dispense controlled substances.

* In addition to the Pre-Employment Polygraph Test you can also use, together or separately, other great tools to screen applicants like Pre-Employment Security Interview, Pre-Employment Psychological Honesty & Integrity Tests & Background Checks.


Businesses can request a current employee to take a polygraph examination or suggest to such a person that a polygraph examination be taken, only when specific conditions have been satisfied. In general, polygraph tests may be administered in the private sector to current employees who are reasonably suspected of involvement in a workplace incident that results in economic loss to the employer and who had access to the persons or property that is the subject of an investigation.

Theft Polygraph ExamQuestions must be limited to the specific loss only. The employer must have suffered a specific economic loss, either through theft, vandalism, embezzlement, or other misappropriation of money or property. The loss must have been suffered by the employer, not a third party. For example, a cleaning service may not test its employees regarding an alleged loss by a customer. A specific issue polygraph can only be requested by an employer of their employee. A company does not have legal standing to request a sub-contractor or employee of another company to take a polygraph. The loss suffered by the employer must be specific and identifiable. General losses or shrinkage do not qualify. The employee to be tested must have had access to the missing/lost/damaged property. Unless your company falls under one of the exempted industries listed above, there must be a "reasonable suspicion" that the employee was involved in the loss. Access to the property alone is not sufficient to warrant a polygraph request. This "reasonable suspicion" can be established in many ways, including commission of similar acts in the past, statements of witnesses, suspicious behavior, or other evidence which increases the likelihood of the employee's involvement.

The employer, having met the above requirements and schedule the polygraph test with the polygraph examiner, must make a request in writing asking the employee to take the exam (We can provide a form for such requests). This request must advise the employee that the exam is voluntary and that no action can be taken against him/her solely for refusing to take it. The employee must also be advised of the incident under investigation, the reason he/she is suspected of involvement, his/her legal rights, and a number of other notifications required under the law. The examiner is not permitted to ask about losses other than those described in this document. This request must also include the date, time and location of the scheduled exam. This request must be presented to the employee at least 2 business days prior to the scheduled exam. If the employee refuses to take the exam, the employer may take no "adverse employment action" against the employee as a result of this refusal. This means the employee cannot be terminated, demoted, or lose pay or position solely because of this refusal.

If an employee "fails" an EPPA polygraph, the employer still may not take an "adverse employment action" against the employee without additional supporting evidence indicating the employee's involvement in the loss. However, the "reasonable suspicion" of involvement originally required for the exam is sometimes sufficient to qualify as this "additional supporting evidence." We recommend consulting with an attorney for more information. At the time such "adverse employment action" is initiated, the employer must provide the employee with a copy of the polygraph report and charts relating to this issue.

An employer is under no obligation to provide the employee with polygraph reports or materials if the employer intends to take no action as a result of the exam.

The employer is required to maintain the EPPA request form (signed by the employee) for a minimum of 3 years following the exam date.

PolygraphOur Service can provide you and your business with the truth and facts regarding incidents of employee theft. Our Service utilizes brand new state-of-the-art computerized polygraph systems to conduct customized employee examinations for incidents ranging from monetary and inventory theft to industrial espionage and theft of intellectual property. All examinations are constructed around your specific requests and adhere to strict confidentiality ensuring complete privacy. All our polygraph examiners are certified and members of the American Polygraph Association (APA).

* Monetary Theft * Inventory Theft * Product Tampering * Industrial Espionage * Commercial Sabotage *

* Intellectual Property Theft * Property and Merchandise Damage * Misappropriation and Embezzlement *

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