When more than $6,000 in sexy lingerie vanished from the Premier Couples Superstore, owner Tony Panzino tells Local 6 he hired a polygrapher to administer a lie detector test to 10 of his employees.
According to Panzino, only one worker failed the polygraph: Amitra Alexander.
Now, Alexander has filed a federal lawsuit against the adult toy store, claiming her former boss violated a law that prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests.
According to Alexander's lawsuit, Panzino informed employees that they were not considered suspects, but he wanted them to take a polygraph test to make sure they had nothing to do with the stolen items. Workers who refused to take the polygraph would be terminated, said Alexander.
Two days after taking the polygraph, Alexander claims Panzino told her she had failed the test and fired her based on the results.
"I did not fire her for failing the test," insists Panzino. Instead, the store owner tells Local 6, he terminated Alexander based on the way she talked and behaved in his office after being notified of the test results, which he described as a "99 percent fail."
The Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988 prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests during the course of employment or as part of the hiring process. However, the law does allow polygraph testing "of certain employees of private firms who are reasonably suspected of involvement in a workplace incident that resulted in specific economic loss or injury to the employer."
Under the act, an employee must be given a written notice explaining the employee's rights and outlining prohibited areas of questioning. An employee may refuse to take a test or terminate a test at any time, and the employer is not allowed to disclose the results of the test with anyone but the employee without their consent, according to the federal law.
In Alexander's lawsuit, she claims she received a one-page document titled "48 Hour Notice." No further details of that document are explained in the lawsuit.
Alexander declined to speak to Local 6. Her attorney, Andres Rivera-Ortiz, also did not want to comment about the lawsuit.