What is The Employee Polygraph Protection Act?

Many workers in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania are protected under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, or EPPA. This law covers a majority of private employers but does not apply to local, state and federal governments. If you were terminated because you refused your employer’s request to submit to a lie detector test, contact Swartz Swidler for help.

Basic requirements

Most private employers are prohibited under the EPPA from using polygraph tests for pre-employment screenings and during the course of their employment. Employers cannot ask job applicants or employees to submit to lie detector tests. They also cannot take any adverse job actions against employees or applicants who refuse to take polygraph tests.

Employers are also not able to ask about the results of lie detector tests or to discriminate against employees based on the results of their polygraphs. They also cannot take retaliatory actions against employees who file complaints under the EPPA.

Certain employers are able to polygraph their applicants, including:

  • Security services companies
  • Pharmaceutical distributors
  • Pharmaceutical dispensers
  • Pharaceutical manufacturers

The law also allows testing of employees who are suspected of embezzlements or thefts that caused economic losses or injuries. Polygraph tests that are allowed must be given by bonded and licensed examiners or examiners who have professional liability insurance.

Employee rights

Under the EPPA, employees have rights to job opportunities without having to undergo lie detector tests unless an exemption applies. They also have the right to file lawsuits under the EPPA for violations of the law. People are also able to submit claims to the Wage and Hour Division.


Companies who have violated the EPPA may have injunctions ordered to restrain them from using polygraph tests. They may also be fined up to $10,000 for each violation. In addition, the employer may be liable to the worker or applicant for equitable and legal relief. These might include reinstatement, employment, promotion and payment of any benefits and lost wages.

Employers who are fined may request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the notice of assessment. The hearings will be held before administrative law judges. If the employers don’t like the decisions, they may request that the Secretary of Labor review them.

Relationship with state, local and other federal laws

The EPPA does not preempt more restrictive provisions of local or state law or with any collective bargaining agreements.

If you were required to take a polygraph test by your employer or were terminated for refusing one, you may have legal rights. Contact the experienced employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler to learn more about the rights that you might have.