Translators Should not be Subject to Lie Detector Tests

Posted on: April 15th, 2015 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

It is inappropriate and wrong for translators to be ordered to take lie detector tests, says Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar.

The issue has become a hot-button topic south of the border after a company that provides translation services to American law enforcement agencies is facing a lawsuit by nine former translators in San Diego, Calif. The translators say they were illegally required to take lie-detector tests during a “leak” investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, reports the U-T San Diego newspaper.

The freelance translators worked for New York-based Metropolitan Interpreters and Translators Inc., a contractor for the DEA, translating conversations captured on court-ordered wiretaps for the agency. Court documents show they were required to take the lie detector tests at the request of the DEA in January 2011 because the agency was concerned there was a leak among the approximately 100 translators who were working in so-called “wire rooms,” says the article.

“In October, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller ruled the company could be tried for ordering all employees to take the tests. A 1988 federal law banned employers from using the tests because of long-standing questions about reliability and accuracy.”

The article says “the employees who failed or for whom results were inconclusive lost their security clearance to work for the DEA and ultimately their jobs, and those who refused to take the test also lost their jobs.”

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