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Pre-employment Polygraph Testing

There has been quite a lot of media coverage recently into how Irish Employers are increasingly using polygraph examinations now, particularly as part of the recruitment process. Understandably anyone who has recently submitted a job application could be concerned about these developments.

However there are only certain industries that would generally use the polygraph as part of their recruitment process. This includes:

Security firms, who need to ensure that either criminals or someone with criminal intent does not infiltrate their business with a view to arranging a robbery essentially putting other employers and their families as well as customers at risk.

Pharmaceutical companies may use polygraph for a number of different reasons including; protecting their intelligence from industrial espionage and ensuring they do not recruit individuals who are trying to gain access to drugs to sell illegally.

Chemical manufacturers may want to ensure individual are not trying to gain access to chemical or terrorism or other illegal purposes.

Businesses involved in facilities which have a significant impact on the health or safety of a large population,( such as nuclear or electric power plants, water works or toxic waste disposal) need to ensure terrorists or extremists do not infiltrate the business with the intention of harming the public.

No good examiner should inquire into any of the following areas during pre-employment or periodic employment examinations:

  • religious beliefs or affiliations
  • beliefs or opinions regarding racial matters
  • political beliefs or affiliations
  • beliefs, affiliations or lawful activities regarding unions or labour organisations
  • sexual preferences or activities

Anyone undertaking a polygraph test is required to give their written consent in order for the examination to go ahead.