DEA Sued by Wiretap Translators For Conducting Illegal Polygraphs
A group of 8 translators/interpreters in San Diego have sued the Drug Enforcement Administration for administering polygraphs in violation of federal law. The interpreters' employer, Metropolitan, aka Metlang has also been sued.
The DEA contracted with Metlang to provide linguists/translators for its criminal cases. The suing translators worked for Metlang on DEA's wiretaps and criminal cases. They were all fired after either refusing the test or after DEA reported their polygraphs results as “failed,”or "inconclusive" to Metlang.
Under the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, 29 USC §§2001, a private employer is prohibited from requesting, requiring or demanding a polygraph test from an employee.
The polygraphs lasted four or five hours, and one woman was questioned about bestiality: [More...]
During the pre-test phase of the examination, the polygrapher asked her if she had engaged in sexual activity with animals. L.A.’s examination lasted approximately five hours. L.A. was told that she had not passed the polygraph exam. L.A. was terminated from her employment at Metropolitan.
From the Complaint, available here:
While the DEA is excluded from the EPPA requirements with respect to its own employees, it is prohibited from requesting, requiring or demanding that a private contractor’s employees submit to a polygraph under 29 USC §§ 2001, et seq unless the contractor falls under specified statutory exceptions, none of which apply in this case.
22. The DEA’s actions in performing polygraphs were clearly illegal. Instead of declining to force its employees into submitting to illegal polygraphs, Metropolitan and defendants agreed with, participated with and aided and abetted the DEA in the violation of law described in this Complaint. Metropolitan and the defendants engaged in a joint venture to violate the laws a described.
23. While it was DEA polygraphers who administered the tests, it was Defendant Metropolitan which coordinated the testing; scheduled the tests; communicated with the employees regarding the tests; presented the order in which the tests would be given; and discharged the employees after they “failed” or refused the test or had inconclusive test results.
Another translator was asked whether he ever cheated on his partner:
[After he] took the polygraph, he was escorted out as if he had committed a crime. The polygrapher told J.M. that he failed one question and asked J.M. to submit to a retest. J.M. agreed to a retest. No one set up a retest and he was terminated from his job.
The EPPA statute forbids sexual questions in employee polygraph tests.
Another employee was asked if he ever received treatment from a mental health practitioner.
For damages, the linguists are seeking:
"As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiffs were subjected to humiliation, fear, loss of income, loss of reputation, dissemination of defamatory information, loss of employment, and pain and suffering by the illegal acts of defendants and are entitled to attorney fees and punitive damages," the complaint states.
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