“Do Lie Detectors Belong at Work?”

Bob Rosner writes for the Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs Startup Journal. Excerpt:

I recently received a letter from a small-business owner who responded to a rash of small thefts in the workplace with company-wide lie-detector tests. Before you start any fishing expeditions with your employees, I thought you’d benefit from hearing the following fish story.

One day a Russian angler caught a huge pike. Of course, the fisherman felt a great deal of pride, but he also felt something else — pain. Not content to be another fish out of water, the pike had bitten the fisherman on the nose and held on. Fortunately, according to newspaper accounts, Russian doctors were eventually able to pry the fish from the man’s face.

Well, just like that Russian fish, a lie detector has the potential to bite back. And if that happens, the lawyers you’ll need to hire to pry you loose from a potential or actual lawsuit will cost a heck of a lot more than any Russian doctor. William Hubbartt’s book, “The New Battle Over Workplace Privacy” (Amacom, 1998), is a good source of information on issues related to workplace privacy. I’ve adapted the following questions from it for business owners….

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