A game of hot potato possibly could emerge regarding the lie detector test taken by Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley before the draft. Per multiple reports, the Ravens requested it. A source with knowledge of the situation insists the Ravens did not request it. Conley’s representatives, however, contend generally that a team requested it.
It’s a potentially important distinction because of a law known as the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988. The law says that non-governmental employers may not “directly or indirectly . . . require, request, suggest, or cause any employee or prospective employee to take or submit to any lie detector test.”
As explained by Peter King of TheMMQB.com, the Ravens decided to administer the test on Thursday, and they found a firm in northeast Ohio to conduct the test late Thursday afternoon. But other aspects of King’s report cut against the notion that the Ravens requested it or otherwise crossed the line created by federal law.
According to King, one of Conley’s agents sent an email from the person who conducted the test to all 32 teams. If the Ravens had requested it, why would the Ravens have allowed the results to be given to all 32 teams? The goal would have been to conceal the information, in the hopes that other teams would pass on Conley.
Our guess is that the Ravens simply suggested the test or maybe raised the possibility, and that Conley’s camp took it from there. While merely suggesting it could be regarded as a violation of the law, it’s unlikely that federal authorities will be descending on the team’s facility and launching a perp-walk parade any time soon. But it’s definitely the kind of thing that the league office should be advising teams to not do, and the advice extends beyond merely not “requesting” a polygraph.
Teams also shouldn’t suggest, directly or indirectly, that a player submit to a polygraph. In this case, the available evidence suggests that the spark came from the Ravens. And that should provide the league office with the spark to remind all teams about what the law does and doesn’t permit.
When it comes to polygraph testing and private employers, the law basically prohibits anything and everything relating to polygraph testing.