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Normal Topic Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in California! (Read 15332 times)
George Maschke (Guest)
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Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in California!
Jan 5th, 2001 at 4:30pm
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It's time to remove the governmental exemptions from Section 432.2 (a) of the California Labor Code, which bars private (but not public) employers from requiring employees or applicants to submit to lie detector "testing."

The Problem

California leads the nation in science and technology, yet many agencies in our state rely on pseudoscientific lie detector "testing" to make hiring and other employment-related decisions.

Employees of, and applicants for employment with, public safety agencies are the main population affected. Many agencies require applicants to submit to lie detector "testing." In 1999, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department alone conducted some 4,800 pre-employment polygraph examinations. The California Highway Patrol requires applicants submit to a competing pseudoscientific lie detection technique: Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA). And the Los Angeles Police Department's Narcotics, Anti-Terrorist, and Organized Crime and Vice Divisions require officers serving in those units to "voluntarily" submit to polygraph "testing."

Yet lie detectors -- whether the polygraph or CVSA -- have not been shown by competent scientific research to operate at above chance levels of accuracy under field conditions. Lie detection is not even a standardized scientific procedure, such that it's validity might be determined through scientific research.

These pseudoscientific "tests" have no standing in the scientific community, and it is with good reason that the top-notch scientists at our national laboratories are so vociferously opposed to lie detector "testing." (Read their comments on the Society of Professional Scientists and Engineers website.)

As readers of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector know, polygraph "tests" actually depend on the polygrapher lying to and deceiving the person being "tested," have a built-in bias against truthful persons, and yet can be easily beaten by deceptive persons through the use of polygraph countermeasures.

Governmental reliance on pseudoscientific lie detector "testing" to judge a person's honesty and integrity is fundamentally unfair.

Current California Law

Section 432.2 of the California Labor Code prohibits employers from demanding or requesting employees or applicants to submit to lie detector "testing." But it specifically exempts government from this prohibition:

Quote:
432.2.  (a) No employer shall demand or require any applicant for employment or prospective employment or any employee to submit to or take a polygraph, lie detector or similar test or examination as a condition of employment or continued employment. The prohibition of this section does not apply to the federal government or any agency thereof or the state government or any agency or local subdivision thereof, including, but not limited to, counties, cities and counties, cities, districts, authorities, and agencies.
  (b) No employer shall request any person to take such a test, or administer such a test, without first advising the person in writing at the time the test is to be administered of the rights guaranteed by this section.


While Section 3307 of the California Government Code does prohibit public safety officers from being compelled to submit to a lie detector test against their will, it does not prohibit an agency from "requesting" that a public safety officer submit:

Quote:
3307.  (a) No public safety officer shall be compelled to submit to a lie detector test against his or her will.  No disciplinary action or other recrimination shall be taken against a public safety officer refusing to submit to a lie detector test, nor shall any comment be entered anywhere in the investigator's notes or anywhere else that the public safety officer refused to take, or did not take, a lie detector test, nor shall any testimony or evidence be admissible at a subsequent hearing, trial, or proceeding, judicial or administrative, to the effect that the public safety officer refused to take, or was subjected to, a lie detector test.
  (b) For the purpose of this section, "lie detector" means a polygraph, deceptograph, voice stress analyzer, psychological stress evaluator, or any other similar device, whether mechanical or electrical, that is used, or the results of which are used, for the purpose of rendering a diagnostic opinion regarding the honesty or dishonesty of an individual.


Although no written notes about an officer's refusal to submit to a lie detector "test" may be made, any officer refusing such a request can be certain that mental notes will indeed be made, and that gossip will spread. Because of the prejudice that results from an officer refusing to submit to lie detector "testing," agencies should additionally be prohibited from even requesting that a public safety officer submit.

The Solution

We need to close the loopholes in California's lie detector legislation and protect all Californians from lie detector "testing." No one should have his or her honesty and integrity assessed based on these pseudoscientific techniques.

Minnesota's polygraph statute provides an excellent model, and we should adopt the same protections in California. The Minnesota polygraph statute is reproduced in full below:

Quote:
    181.75 Polygraph tests of employees or prospective
employees prohibited.

   Subdivision 1.    Prohibition, penalty.  No employer or
agent thereof shall directly or indirectly solicit or require a
polygraph, voice stress analysis, or any test purporting to test
the honesty of any employee or prospective employee.  No person
shall sell to or interpret for an employer or the employer's
agent a test that the person knows has been solicited or
required by an employer or agent to test the honesty of an
employee or prospective employee.  An employer or agent or any
person knowingly selling, administering, or interpreting tests
in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.  If an
employee requests a polygraph test any employer or agent
administering the test shall inform the employee that taking the
test is voluntary.

   Subd. 2.    Investigations.  The department of labor
and industry shall investigate suspected violations of this
section.  The department may refer any evidence available
concerning violations of this section to the county attorney of
the appropriate county, who may with or without such reference,
institute the appropriate criminal proceedings under this
section.

   Subd. 3.  Injunctive relief.  In addition to the
penalties provided by law for violation of this section,
specifically and generally, whether or not injunctive relief is
otherwise provided by law, the courts of this state are vested
with jurisdiction to prevent and restrain violations of this
section and to require the payment of civil penalties.  Whenever
it shall appear to the satisfaction of the attorney general that
this section has been or is being violated, the attorney general
shall be entitled, on behalf of the state, to sue for and have
injunctive relief in any court of competent jurisdiction against
any such violation or threatened violation without abridging
other penalties provided by law.

   Subd. 4.    Individual remedies.  In addition to the
remedies otherwise provided by law, any person injured by a
violation of this section may bring a civil action to recover
any and all damages recoverable at law, together with costs and
disbursements, including costs of investigation and reasonable
attorney's fees, and receive other equitable relief as
determined by the court.  The court may, as appropriate, enter a
consent judgment or decree without a finding of illegality.

   HIST: 1973 c 667 s 1; 1976 c 256 s 1; 1986 c 444

Copyright 2000 by the Office of Revisor of Statutes, State of Minnesota.


What to Do

We cannot expect the state legislature to adopt polygraph reform on its own initiative. Our legislators need to hear from us! Do you part by writing to your state Assemblymember and Senator. Look up your California legislators on-line at:

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

Ask them to sponsor a bill removing the state and local governmental exemptions to Section 432.2 (a) of the California Labor Code and to extend to all Californians the protections of the Minnesota polygraph statute. If you have been the victim of polygraph abuse, tell your state legislators about your experience. And follow up your letters with a phone call.

When you've done that, post a note about your representatives' responses here. That way, we can put those legislators who support polygraph reform in contact with each other, and hold publicly accountable those who would deny California's public employees and applicants equal protection from pseudoscientific lie detector "tests."


  
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Fred F.
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Re: Let's Stop Lie Detector
Reply #1 - Apr 4th, 2001 at 2:18am
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George,
I am a new member to the site but have been following it for a while. It's to bad that I found you so late as I was one of the 4,800 polys that the Los Angeles County Sheriffs conducted and probably one of 3000 plus that "failed". Had I known what I know now from reading "The Lie Behind The Lie Detector" when I tested, I would be a deputy already. I have used the form letter to contact my local representatives and didn't get a reply. I still continue to pursue a career in law enforcement, there are agencies that don't poly and even if I must subject myself to this "testing" again, I will be "prepared". The Polygraph is useless, just ask the 12 LA Sheriff's deputies who "passed" the "test" and were recently arrested for
credit card fraud while working in the jail system.

Fred F.
  
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Twoblock (Guest)
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Re: Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in Californi
Reply #2 - Apr 7th, 2001 at 4:44am
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Fred, is the form letter you sent the one to elected officials by Wild Bill? I noticed you said you sent it to your local Reps. How about to your national Reps. and Sens. in Washington D.C.? Also, how about getting everyone you know to do the same. There is power in numbers. Martin L. King proved that. I have sent many, many and none have had the balls to reply. I have sent quite a few to "letters to the Editor" of newspapers. And none of them, that I know of, has had the balls to print it. However, if they received hundreds they might feel enough pressure to respond. All elected officials know that not a damn one of them can pass the questions posed in that letter unless the polygrapher munipulates the machine or the use of countermeasures. By the way, news magazines i.e. 20/20, 60 mins., 48 Hours has no balls either. I have contacted them all. They should have the courtesy to respond with "this network doesn't have the balls to take on Washington D.C." As you can tell, I am angry as hell and what made me that way is the way a fellow Navy man was treated by sadistic, scum polygraphers. Lets go all out and get this crapola polygraphy ABOLISHED.
  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Let's Stop Lie Detector
Reply #3 - Apr 7th, 2001 at 7:57pm
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Fred F.,

I'm sorry to read about your experience, but look forward to working with you on this issue! You wrote in part:

Quote:
I have used the form letter to contact my local representatives and didn't get a reply.


In order to change the law in our state, it will take more than form letters, I'm afraid. If you like the proposal I made in the first message of this thread, then I urge you to call the local offices of your representatives in the California Assembly and Senate and to request an appointment to meet with a staffer to discuss this issue. There is really no substitute for such interpersonal contact. (Unfortunately, I'm working overseas and am not presently able to personally meet with my representatives or their staff).

We need to find legislators to sponsor a bill removing the state and local governmental exemptions to Section 432.2 (a) of the California Labor Code and extending to all Californians the protections of the Minnesota polygraph statute. And we need to put those legislators who would be inclined to support such legislation in touch with each other, so they know they're not alone on this issue.

Last year, Senator Alarcon sponsored a bill that would have simply required that employment-related polygraph interrogations be videotaped in the state of California. Such recording would have been an important safeguard against polygraph abuse. Although there was little coordination amongst polygraph opponents to support this bill, both the Assembly and the Senate approved it. But the California Association of Polygraph Examiners lobbied against the bill, and Governor Davis ultimately vetoed it. We need to prevent this from happening again.

If you are willing to meet with your state representatives' staffs, please send me an e-mail at maschke@antipolygraph.org and I'll provide you with some additional information that may be useful.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
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Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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Ronin
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Re: Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in
Reply #4 - Nov 13th, 2003 at 4:48am
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I just wanted to comment that I have sent letters to all of my California state legislators urging them to eliminate the polygraph exemption for state and local governments.

I recently took a poly with major a metro southern california PD and was accused of lying on two questions i have no history of being guilty of. it is absolutely ridiculous that local governments can implement this tool that neither the courts nor the private sector are allowed to use.
  
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George W. Maschke
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Re: Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in
Reply #5 - Nov 13th, 2003 at 10:01am
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Ronin,

It is very important that polygraph victims contact their elected representatives, as you have done. Legislative reform is necessary to end the on-going abuse and injustice associated with polygraph screening. But unless legislators hear from their constituents, they won't feel compelled to take action.

Please let us know what response(s) you receive. You might want to follow up with phone calls after a few days.
  

George W. Maschke
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp to text or call.)
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Wire: @ap_org
PGP Public Key: 316A947C
PGP Public Key (offline): 2BF4374B
Personal Statement: "Too Hot of a Potato"
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gelb disliker
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Re: Let's Stop Lie Detector "Testing" in
Reply #6 - Jun 28th, 2005 at 9:50am
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HEY,  FAST EDDIE, AS IN FAST EDDIE GELB, THE COWBOY BOOT WEARIN' SMUG SON OF A BITCH.  I KNOW YOURE READING THIS AND YOU STILL SUCK!!!!!   YEAH LET THE JON BENETS GET AWAY WITH KILLING THEIR KID, THIS IS A NEW LOW FOR YOU.....OOOOPS, NO IT ISNT!!!!!
  
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