The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDRUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Tauria Dilworth, filed a four-count complaint against
Defendants, alleging false imprisonment (Count I), intentional infliction
of emotional distress (Count II), violation of the Employee Polygraph
Protection Act ("EPPA") (Count III), and wrongful discharge (Count IV).
In January 2004, a jury trial was held. Following the close of
Plaintiff's case in chief, Defendants moved for a directed verdict on all
counts; Defendants' motion was denied. The jury returned a verdict in
favor of Defendants on Counts I, II, and IV. The jury returned a verdict
in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant LaSalle-Chicago 24-Hour
Currency Exchange, Inc. on Count III in the amount of $6,000.00.
Presently before the Court is LaSalle-Chicago's Renewed Motion for
Judgment As a Matter of Law.
When considering a motion for judgment as a matter of law, the court
looks to all of the evidence in the records and asks whether any
reasonable jury could have found in the plaintiff's favor. See Appelbaum
v. Milwaukee Metro. Sewage Dist., 340 F.3d 573, 578 (7th Cir. 2003)
(Appelbaum). The evidentiary record is construed in the plaintiff's
favor, and all reasonable inferences are construed in the plaintiff's
favor. The reviewing court does not weigh the evidence
or make its own credibility determinations. See Appelbaum, 340 F.3d at
LaSalle-Chicago contends that judgment as a matter of law should be
entered on Plaintiff's EPPA claim because the evidence is legally
insufficient to support the jury's verdict.
The EPPA prohibits an employer to require or request any employee or
prospective employee to take or submit to a lie detector test. See 29
U.S.C. § 2002(1). Employers are also prohibited from discharging an
employee for refusing or failing to take a lie detector test or on the
basis of the results of a lie detector test. See 29 U.S.C. § 2002(3).
However, an employer may request an employee submit to a lie detector
(1) the test is administered in connection with an
ongoing investigation involving economic loss or
injury to the employer's business, such as theft . .
(2) the employee had access to the property that is
the subject of the investigation;
(3) the employer has a reasonable suspicion that the
employee was involved in the incident or activity
under investigation; and
(4) the employer executes a statement, provided to
the examiner before the test. . . .
29 U.S.C. § 2006(d). These exemptions do not apply "if an employee is
discharged, disciplined, denied employment or promotion, or otherwise
discriminated against in any manner on the basis of the analysis of a
polygraph test chart or the refusal to take a polygraph test, without
additional supporting evidence. The evidence required by such subsection
may serve as additional supporting evidence." 29 U.S.C. § 2007(1).
LaSalle-Chicago first argues that it is exempt from violating Section
2002(1) of the EPPA because it meets the required elements set forth in
Section 2006(d). The undisputed evidence
established that the Defendants requested that Dilworth submit to a lie
detector test in connection with an ongoing investigation involving
economic loss or injury to the employer's business and that Dilworth had
access to the property that was the subject of the investigation.
However, a reasonable jury could have concluded that LaSalle-Chicago's
suspicion of Dilworth, when it requested that a lie detector test be
performed, was not reasonable. Dilworth testified that she repeatedly told
the Defendants that she did not take the $2,000.00 in dispute and that
she did not know what happened to the money. While Dilworth's coworkers
testified that they saw Dilworth with the $2,000.00, the jury need not
conclude that such testimony was credible or, if so, that it evidenced a
reasonable suspicion that Dilworth took the $2,000.00, particularly in
light of her continued denial and the lack of any direct evidence that
Dilworth had taken the money. Accordingly, a reasonable jury could have
concluded that LaSalle-Chicago failed to prove it was exempt under
Furthermore, a reasonable jury could have found that LaSalle-Chicago
violated Section 2002(3) by terminating Dilworth's employment when it
learned that she had not taken a lie detector test. At trial, the
evidence included testimony that on September 5, 2002, Dilworth informed
Jorge Cerda that she had not scheduled or taken the lie detector test
that was agreed to on August 31, 2002; immediately upon learning of this,
Cerda informed Dilworth that she could not return to work. Based on this
evidence, a reasonable jury could have concluded that Dilworth was
discharged for failing to take the lie detector test in violation of 29
U.S.C. § 2002(3).
For the reasons stated above, LaSalle-Chicago's Renewed Motion
for Judgment as a Matter of Law is denied.
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