The Employment Polygraph Protection Act (Fact Sheet #36: Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 / U.S. Department of Labor ( The Act generally prevents employers engaged in interstate commerce from using polygraph examinations either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exemptions.

For private sector firms, the Act allows for limited exemptions in which polygraph tests (but no other lie detector tests) may be administered, subject to certain restrictions:

  • To employees who are reasonably suspected of involvement in a workplace incident that results in economic loss to the employer and who had access to the property that is subject to an investigation; and
  • To prospective employees of armored car, security alarm, and security guard firms who protect facilities, materials, or operations affecting health and safety, national security, or currency and other like instruments; and
  • To prospective employees of pharmaceutical and other firms authorized to manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances and who will have direct access to such controlled substances, as well as current employees who had access to persons or property that are subject of an ongoing investigation.