Israel: “Ministry Tells El Al Not to Subject Staff to Lie Detector Tests”

Zohar Blumenkranz reports for Ha’aretz. Excerpt:

The Justice Ministry has prohibited El Al from subjecting its employees to polygraph tests aimed at discovering who in the company has been leaking information to the media. The ministry directive is based on a ruling by the attorney general opposing the use of these kinds of tests in public companies.

The airline’s director-general, Amos Shapira, decided last month to hire a private investigation agency and have the company’s executives undergo lie-detector tests in order to find out who leaked data from the company’s financial statements for the first half of the year. Shapira was also upset that some of his conversations with the chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee had also been leaked to the press.

In a letter to El Al’s chairman of the board, Michael Levy, the deputy attorney general, Edo Baum, wrote: “The attorney general has asked me to call your attention to the summary of a discussion held in our office in March 2001 on the subject of polygraph tests aimed at identifying leaks in one of the statutory authorities that is not part of a police investigation. It is stated there: The attorney general stressed the difficulty of polygraph tests in cases like this, when juxtaposed against a person’s dignity and freedom.”

The summary cited in the letter notes that asking an employee to undergo a polygraph test puts the employee in an uncomfortable and inappropriate situation. In addition, this kind of testing has not proved to be successful in uncovering leaks, the letter notes.

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