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Use of the Polygraph in the Workplace: The American Polygraph Association's View

NCJ Number
Polygraph Volume: 17 Issue: 2 Dated: (June 1988) Pages: 80-90
J P Buckley
Date Published
11 pages
This article presents basic information about the polygraph technique and reviews basic arguments against the continued use of polygraph determinations.
In addition to its use by law enforcement agencies, the polygraph is used by 60 percent of retail operations to help combat employee theft and to assess pre-employment candidates. Polygraphs are considered to be 85 to 95 percent accurate. Errors most often result when the examiner fails to prepare the subject properly for the examination or misreads the physiological data on the polygraph charts. Personal and intrusive questions concerning, for example, religious or political beliefs are prohibited. Various State licensing laws and American Polygraph Association standards and principles permit release of test results only to authorized persons. While the U.S. Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the admissibility of polygraph evidence, many State courts have recognized its value. This article expresses the American Polygraph Association's view that the polygraph examination alone should never be used to deny employment, nevertheless, compromise legislation should be proposed that would prevent polygraph examiners from using improper procedures and from asking improper questions. 13 references.