Polygraph testing in the South African workplace : the law and practice

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The South African labour market is, after the enactment of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and Bill of Rights, faced with the enormous challenge of limitations placed in the workplace to the constitutional guarantees. The limitations referred to are specific to the extent to which some institutions restrict the employee's rights to dignity, privacy and just administrative action. The perception of just administration questions evidence obtained by the use of lie detector (polygraph) tests comes under scrutiny as far as the admissibility and weight of such evidence is concerned. This research paper will recommend and conclude the following: 1. Constitutional guarantees are sacrosanct as enshrined in Sections 8(2),10,12,14,23,25. 39 2. In the absence of SA legislation the common law has developed to the level where the jurisprudence have accepted polygraph testing as admissible when certain conditions are met inter alia: Polygrapher must be registered and qualified; the consent of the employee must be given before test are conducted; the test are used to corroborate evidence such as for example circumstantial evidence. 3. The South African Qualification Authority development of unit standards is an indication of the acceptance of Polygraph testing in the South African Labour Law sphere. 4. The private sectors in South Africa are utilizing these tests in the absence of policies and procedures in the workplace, hence the need for directives, policies and procedures to guide against the abuse or misuse. 5. That polygraph testing have developed to a level of sufficient acceptance in the workplace.

Includes bibliographical references