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Under the Act, the Secretary of Labor is directed to distribute a notice of the Act's protections, to issue rules and regulations and to enforce the provisions of the Act. The Act empowers the Secretary of Labor to bring injunctive actions in U.S. district courts to restrain violations and to assess civil money penalties up to $10,000 against employers that violate any provision of the Act. Employers are required to post notices summarizing the protections of the Act in their places of work.
A lie detector includes a polygraph, deceptograph, voice stress analyzer, psychological stress evaluator or similar device (whether mechanical or electrical) used to render a diagnostic opinion as to the honesty or dishonesty of an individual.
A polygraph means an instrument that records continuously, visually, permanently and simultaneously changes in cardiovascular, respiratory and electrodermal patterns as minimum instrumentation standards and is used to render a diagnostic opinion as to the honesty or dishonesty of an individual.
An employer shall not:
Federal, state and local governments are excluded. In addition, lie detector tests administered by the federal government to employees of federal contractors engaged in national security intelligence or counterintelligence functions are exempt. The Act also includes limited exemptions where polygraph tests (but no other lie detector tests) may be administered in the private sector, subject to certain restrictions:
Qualifications of Examiners
An examiner is required to have a valid and current license, if required by a state in which the test is to be conducted, and must maintain a minimum of $50,000 bond or professional liability coverage.
Employee/Prospective Employee Rights
An employee or prospective employee must be given a written notice explaining the employee's or prospective employee's rights and the limitations imposed, such as prohibited areas of questioning and restriction on the use of test results. Among other rights, an employee or prospective employee may refuse to take a test, terminate a test at any time or decline to take a test if he or she suffers from a medical condition. The results of a test alone cannot be disclosed to anyone other than the employer or employee/prospective employee without their consent or, pursuant to court order, to a court, government agency, arbitrator or mediator.
Under the exemption for ongoing investigations of workplace incidents involving economic loss, a written or verbal statement must be provided to the employee prior to the polygraph test. The statement must explain the specific incident or activity being investigated and the basis for the employer's reasonable suspicion that the employee was involved in such incident or activity.
Where polygraph examinations are permitted under the Act, they are subject to strict standards concerning the conduct of the test, including the pre-test, testing and post-test phases of the examination.
Civil actions may be brought by an employee or prospective employee in federal or state court against employers who violate the Act for legal or equitable relief, such as employment reinstatement, promotion and payment of lost wages and benefits. The action must be brought within three years of the date of the alleged violation.
Click here to download the full text of the regulations.
Source: US Department of Labor
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