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Employee Rights, Polygraph Protection


Section 204 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) generally prohibits an employing office from requiring that lie detector tests be taken by current and prospective employees.

Specific examples of what is prohibited include requiring or requesting that lie detector tests be taken; using, accepting, or inquiring about the results of a lie detector test; or firing or discriminating against an employee based on the results of a lie detector test or the refusal to take a lie detector test.

There are some limited exceptions to this prohibition on the use of lie detectors. For example, those who are involved in intelligence or counterintelligence activities and have access to top secret information may still be required to take lie detector tests. The Capitol Police may also require lie detector tests of its own employees or, as part of an ongoing investigation, of other covered employees. There are other specific exceptions to this prohibition regarding theft or access to controlled substances.

While the general prohibition against lie detector tests includes the use of electrical and mechanical detectors, it does not prohibit the use of oral or written tests. Tests for drugs or alcohol are also not considered “lie detector” tests, and may be required of current or prospective employees.


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