By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When can you force an employee to take a polygraph test?

If you owned a company and hooked employees to a polygraph and could ask any question you wanted, what would you ask? Do you think I’m cute?

One translation service, which had been hired by the Drug Enforcement Agency, asked its employee if she’d had sexual relations with any animals, and other completely horrifying questions. Also horrifying – it was the DEA who told the service to do the polygraph test.

But here’s the thing. It is illegal to force employees of private companies to take lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment.

The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 does allow the federal government to polygraph its employees and applicants along with certain intelligence and law enforcement agencies that are also permitted to test their contractors – but the DEA isn’t one of the agencies allowed to polygraph, which is why it was forced to pay $500,000 to settle the case.

If you work in a private company and suspect your employee has done something illegal, call the cops, because the last thing you want is to have to call your lawyer to defend yourself.