Polygraph Examinations


The EEOC has determined that polygraph examinations, in and of themselves, are not medical examinations. This is the case because polygraph examinations do not measure health or impairments. Rather, they purportedly measure whether a person believes he or she is telling the truth in response to a particular inquiry based upon relative changes in the psychological responses of the person takin the examination. Nevertheless, polygraph examinations may contain disability-related questions. For example, individuals taking polygraph tests oftentimes are asked whether they are taking medication or other substances that may affect the results of the examination. Medication can produce a false negative because the medication minimizes the individual's physiological responses to the polygraph. According to the EEOC, such disability-related inquiries are prohibited as part of a pre-offer examination, even if the examination is not itself ''medical.'' If, in order to administer a polygraph test, inquiries need to be made about the medication an individual is taking, then the polygraph examination should be given at the post-offer stage. At this stage of the employment process, an employer is permitted to make inquiries about lawful drug use.





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