The days of only using polygraph tests for criminal cases are long gone. Still, many people refer to a polygraph test as a lie detector test and assume it is only used on potential criminal suspects to determine their level of guilt or involvement in a crime. While it can be administered for this purpose, there are many other uses for polygraph tests that are unrelated to criminal activity. Here are four practical ways a polygraph test can be helpful in non-criminal situations.
While most companies will choose to do a background check on potential employees before completing the hiring process, some companies want the added security measure a polygraph test can provide. Companies that handle sensitive information, large amounts of money or security details especially need to know all employees are honest and can be trusted. The following entities use polygraph testing frequently:
- Law enforcement agencies
- Security companies
- Technology companies
- Fire departments
In many cases, a polygraph test is required for an employee to be hired for a government position, even if it doesn’t relate directly to security. For example, those who work at a post office or a department of motor vehicles. Those on the police force or a fire department are also usually asked to take a polygraph test prior to a formal offer of employment.
Although private employers are typically prevented from using this type of test on employees by the federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, exceptions are made for those in government positions. This act also does not apply when a private employer has experienced injury to the business or economic loss.
Polygraph tests are an extremely accurate way to determine whether someone has been unfaithful to a spouse. This can be key in situations where prenuptial agreements have been signed or other asset allocations including the custody of children are being called into question.
This type of test records signals such as increased blood pressure, sweating and heavier breathing activity that are indicative of a defensive emotional state. Those accused of cheating on a spouse can take a polygraph test to either prove their honesty and faithfulness or allow the plaintiff to legally nullify any prenuptial agreement.
In some cases, those who are have been wrongly accused of committing a crime. While not required, this type of test can allow an innocent person who is under investigation to prove their innocence. In situations like this, a polygraph test can help uncover facts and evidence that may not have been known and could be vital to locating the actual perpetrator.
Anytime a large amount of money is suddenly acquired, it can be crucial to determine whether it came from a legitimate source. Banks can require the account holder to take a polygraph test to make sure the money is not connected to illegal activity or going to be used to engage in criminal activity. Although an individual may not be a suspect or under investigation, this type of test is useful for obtaining information that may otherwise not have been brought forward. Using a polygraph test can help stop potentially dangerous activity before any injuries or damages occur.
The use of polygraph testing in both the private and public sectors can help avoid potentially hazardous situations and keep people safe. Far from only being performed on criminals, this type of test can help ensure those in charge of sensitive information, public safety and valuables are honest individuals who will not abuse their position. When lives and security are at stake, it is important to be cautious and take all measures necessary to protect people.