About the use of Polygraph Tests
Applicant refusing to obey instruction to undergo polygraph tests – applicant contractually bound to do so on request.
The applicant, a trainee manager, was dismissed for refusing to undergo a polygraph test. He claimed that he had declined to submit to a test because he was not on duty on the on the day certain stock had gone missing, and because, in his experience, such tests were unreliable. The respondent contended that all its employees were contractually bound to undergo polygraph tests on request and that after unacceptable shrinkage had been experienced, the applicant was the only employee who had refused to undergo a test.
The commissioner noted that the applicant’s contract obliged him to undergo polygraph tests when the company considered this necessary. The respondent regularly conducted such tests when shrinkage reached unacceptable levels. The respondent was in the circumstances entitled to request its employees to undergo polygraph tests, and all employees save the applicant had agreed to do so and had passed. That the applicant was not on duty when certain stock had gone missing was irrelevant. The tests were aimed at curbing general stock losses. The applicant had refused to obey several instructions to undergo a test, which amounted to insubordination.
The applicant’s dismissal was upheld.
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