By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Can your boss force you to take a polygraph test?

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A Middle Delaware man spectacularly failed a pre-employment lie-detector test this month when, during the test, he admitted he had broken into a mobile home and set it on fire in 2007. That’s going to hurt his candidacy for the job – as being a police officer.

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Could a polygraph test hurt your chances of getting a job? Not likely. Nope, not because you’re so squeaky clean, but because Federal law prohibits the use of polygraph tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment, with certain exceptions.

Employers generally can’t require an employee or a job applicant to take a polygraph or fire an employee for refusing to take the test. So, what about Smokey the Bandit? Well, the law does not outlaw the use of lie-detector tests for Federal, State or Local government jobs nor for jobs that involve security or handling drugs.

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Good news for the Delaware applicant is that he can honestly say, although he didn’t get the job as a police officer, he did solve one cold case.