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Home RA Newsletters Can Polygraph Testing Be Used To Dismiss An Employee?

Can Polygraph Testing Be Used To Dismiss An Employee?

23rd November 2009

Dear Reader

We have been receiving a lot of enquiries regarding polygraph testing.  So how admissible is such a test at disciplinary enquiries or the CCMA?

Polygraph testing can be used by an employer in an investigation into for example, theft of company property, dishonesty, or falsification of documents.

It is important to note that there are no legislation currently regulating the taking of polygraph tests or the admissibility thereof as evidence in hearings.  Polygraphists are accepted as expert witnesses.  Thus the employer can call the Polygraphists to testify at the CCMA, with regards to test taken, his qualification to take such a test and the questions asked.

The questions that will be asked during the test must be agreed on between the employer and the Polygraphists, and must be carefully compiled.  The questions must be explained to you as well as how it has got bearing on the incident under investigation.  You also have the right to an interpreter and can be accompanied by someone to the test, as long as that person does not interfere with the taking of the test.

There are Five Important Facts that employees should be aware of when it comes to the taking of polygraph tests:

  1. You cannot be forced to take a polygraph test
  2. You must give consent to such a polygraph test, preferably in writing.
  3. Your refusal to take a polygraph test cannot be used against you or be seen as an indication of guilt
  4. Should the polygraph test show that you are lying, it won’t be sufficient evidence to dismiss you.  There must always be supporting evidence before you can be dismissed.  Thus the negative outcome of a polygraph test can only be used in aggravation.
  5. The results can only be released to an authorised person

As an employee you should always keep the mentioned 5 facts in mind when faced with a polygraph test.  Please contact us if you need any advice or assistance in this regard.

Me. L Bouwer
General Manager: Legal Assistance.

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We Are NOT The CCMA, neither are we affiliated to them. You may visit the CCMA website on  or contact their Call Centre 0861 16 16 16

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