Congress Considers Bill to End Use of Polygraphs in Workplace

By Pete Yost, Ap | THE JOURNAL RECORD, November 30, 1985 | Go to article overview

Congress Considers Bill to End Use of Polygraphs in Workplace


Pete Yost, Ap, THE JOURNAL RECORD


WASHINGTON - Lie detector tests are administered to 2 million American workers in private business every year, but bipartisan support is bu ilding in Congress for legislation that would end their use in the workplace.

Businesses ranging from banks, retailers, computer companies and hotels to drug manufacturers and jewelers use the tests in an attempt to screen out dishonest workers and to apprehend employees whohave committed crimes.

Company executives say polygraphs are one tool in efforts to reduce employee theft costing billions of dollars annually. By one estimate, employee theft raises the cost of goods to consumers by as much as 15 percent.

Even proponents concede, however, that polygraphs are not totally reliable. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment says error rates range up to 50 percent when the devices are used in hiring workers.

Pre-employment screening accounts for 75 percent of the use of lie detectors, according to the American Polygraph Association. Some critics estimate that at least 50,000 workers a year are wrongfully denied employment, either because they refuse to take the exams or because of inaccuracies in the testing.

Abuse of the devices is rampant, says the 13.2 million-member AFL-CIO.

""Polygraphs have become vehicles for employee intimidation, and for screening out employees of political or union beliefs different from those of a particular manager,'' adds Rep. Pat Williams, D-Mont., who predicts the House will vote this year on his bill to prohibit use of the tests in the private sector.

One reason for growing interest in the issue of lie detector tests is that polygraph use in private business has increased four-fold in the 1980s.

Williams' legislation got an important boost in the Senate last month when Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, declared his support for it. Hatch and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., introduced their own version of the Williams bill.

The House bill has 164 co-sponsors, including 26 Republicans.

Courts almost uniformly refuse to admit lie detector test results as evidence of guilt or innocence and ""it is time we extend the same basic protection to workers which we offer hardened criminals,'' says Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., one of the bill's Republican supporters.

Hatch, chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, ""believes there is far too much polygraph abuse for Congress not to move to protect working men and women in this country,'' saysIrene Forde-Howard, a committee spokeswoman.

""There's no question that in some situations the polygraph is used to weed out key organizers in our campaigns and to ferret out people who would be inclined to join a union,'' said Mike Tiner, a lobbyist for the 1 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers union, one of the AFL-CIO's largest affiliates.

More than 20 states and the District of Columbia prohibit or limit the use of polygraphs in private employment under most conditions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Congress Considers Bill to End Use of Polygraphs in Workplace
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.