Federal Protections for Texas Employees Against Mandatory Polygraph Tests

Employers who require employees to take lie detector tests may be in violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws. The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) is a federal law that bars private employers from requiring potential or current employees to take lie detector tests. This law prohibits employers from using a polygraph during pre-employment processes or during the course of employment. Generally speaking, private Texas employers cannot use or inquire about lie detector test results to discriminate against an applicant or employee. However, the law does not apply to federal, state, and local government employees.

There also some exceptions in the private sector. Certain businesses, such as security firms and pharmaceutical companies, may lawfully require their applicants and employees to take lie detector tests. Additionally, some private employees who are suspected of financial crimes against the employer may be subject to a lie detector test.

The EPPA specifies that most people have a right to employment without being burdened with a lie detector test. In instances where a lie detector test is permitted, the employers must follow strict guidelines regarding testing conditions and procedures. For example, Texas requires that anyone who performs lie detector tests must be licensed. Additionally, the examiner must have professional liability coverage and abide by confidentiality rules.

When an employer meets an exception to the lie detector prohibition, they must provide their employees with a reason for the test. In instances where the employer is performing the test based on the financial loss exception, the employer must provide the employee with written notice of the incident that is under investigation. The notice must include the specific loss the employer suffered, the employee’s knowledge or relation to the event, why the employee is under suspicion, and a signature of a person, other than the examiner, to bind the employer.

Employers that fall under the security services exception must provide the employee with written notice concerning the date, time, and place of the test. The notice should include information regarding the employee’s right to legal counsel before taking the test. The employer must also provide a detailed explanation of the employee’s rights and list of barred topics and questions. If an employer lawfully administers a lie detector test, they must keep records of the test for at least three years. Records include documentation concerning reports, questions, charts, and anything else related to the exam.

Employers may permit their employees to engage in other pre-employment screens and tests, such as drug tests. However, even though these tests are generally allowed, the tests cannot be used to discriminate against a potential employee based on a federally protected classification.

Has Your Texas Employer Unlawfully Requested a Lie Detector Test?

If you believe you were unlawfully subjected to a lie detector test by your employer, you should contact the Texas employment lawyers at Rob Wiley, P.C. Our skilled employment attorneys can help you understand your rights and remedies. If your employer violated the EPPA, they might face civil financial penalties, and employees may be entitled to reinstatement, lost wages, and promotions. Contact our office at 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Dallas employment lawyers.

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