Magazine article American Banker

Trend Is against Use of Polygraph

Magazine article American Banker

Trend Is against Use of Polygraph

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Polygraphs are no longer likely to be lying in wait for people applying for work in banks.

The trend in many states has been toward forbidding the use of polygraphs in applicant screening. And now federal legislation might be adopted to prohibit employers from refusing to hire people because they will not submit to a polygraph test.

Such a ban would effectively put an end to the use of such testing of prospective employees.

Bills on the subject have been introduced before, but the current legislation has a broad, bipartisan base of support on Capitol Hill. Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., cosponsored the Senate version, and about 160 representatives have signed onto the House bandwagon.

The polygraphing of employee-applicants has been declining, according to William G. Pfaff, senior vice president of human resources for the American Security Bank in Washington, D.C., who spoke recently at a seminar on privacy rights in the work place.

"Use has been dying out in many banks, except in Georgia, where polygraphs are not regulated very much," Mr. Pfaff said. "Of course, here in Washington, we can't even think about them, by law."

PErsonnel directors might not miss them. Polygraphs are not really adequate for screening applicants, according to Alan M. Koral, an attorney who specializes in personnel law.

"Without active cooperation on the part of the subject, polygraphs will not usually provide reliable information. …

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