Washington Lie Detector Tests: What you need to know

Employers may not require an employee or job applicant to submit to a lie detector or similar test as a condition of employment; however, some jobs and industries are exempt (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.44.120). This prohibition does not apply to:
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• Screening of initial applicants with any law enforcement agency
• Screening a person returning after a break of more than 24 consecutive months in service as a fully commissioned law enforcement officer
• Testing of employees or applicants for employment in the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances
• Testing of persons in sensitive positions directly involving national security
• Psychological tests
Penalties. Violation of the state polygraph law entitles the aggrieved employee to both civil and criminal relief. Violation of the polygraph law is a misdemeanor (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.44.120). Employees may sue for actual damages, plus an additional award of $500 as a penalty. An employee who wins a court case under the polygraph law is entitled to legal costs and attorneys' fees; however, the employer may be entitled to attorney's fees if the court determines that the suit was filed frivolously (WA Rev. Code Sec. 49.44.135).
Applicants who have been offered employment as fully commissioned peace officers or reserve officers are required to take and pass a polygraph test or similar assessment procedure as a condition of employment as a peace officer. Those persons whose certification has lapsed because of a break in service in excess of 24 months also are required to take and pass such an examination or similar assessment, or their recertification will be denied. The employing city, county, or state law enforcement agency may ...

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