Theft / Workplace: Business, Home or Office
The Polygraph Exam
A polygraph exam consists of three main parts:
1. A Pre-test Interview (the issue and test questions are reviewed)
2. The Collection of Charts (in-phase portion, polygraph instrument attachments are placed on examinee's body, and test questions are asked)
3. An Analysis of Polygraph Charts to determine PASS (No Deception Indicated), Inconclusive, or FAIL (Deception Indicated)
Polygraph Testing for the Small Business
SPECIFIC ISSUE THEFT Polygraph Exams are used by many employers as an investigative tool, to aid in determining whether or not employees had any involvement or knowledge in recent thefts, embezzlement, vandalism, or misappropriations.
The standard fee for this type of test is between $350- $500. To make lie detector tests more affordable to small business owners, the fee is significantly reduced when two or more employees are tested. Depending on location, the fee may be as low as $200 for each employee tested.
Often, small business owners have friends and family members assisting them with their daily operations. Technically, they are not employees, and with those individuals the business owner is not restricted to any limitations of federal law. Lie detection tests are ALWAYS voluntary, and nobody should ever be intimidated or threatened into agreeing to participate.
It is important to convey to the employees that you are interested in testing them for one specific theft or incident. Most innocent employees will volunteer without hesitation, but may have concerns over $20 they found on the floor a year ago, and did not report. Let them know the polygraph exam is on the theft or incident that is presently being investigated. Guilty employees will also volunteer to take the test, because if they don't, they look guilty. Reassure employees that the examiner is not going to ask intrusive, personal questions about their lives, which are unrelated to the investigation.
Polygraph Exam Letter (Sample for Business)
To: (Employee Name)
Pursuant to the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, you are hereby requested to submit to a polygraph exam (lie detection test.) Please be advised that you have 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, to consult with an attorney (lawyer) or an employee representative before the scheduled exam.
By law, you cannot be required to submit to any polygraph examination. You will not be terminated or penalized for refusing to take this examination.
This test is administered in connection with an ongoing investigation specifically involving: (Example- missing money from weekend drop box)
You had access to the property, money, merchandise, inventory, parts (circle one) that is the subject of this investigation because: (Example- employee had assigned keys to the storeroom)
We have reasonable suspicion of your involvement in the above described incident, based on the following: (Example- co-worker witnessed improper activity)
Signed/ Dated by Employee Employer (Company Representative)