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Conducting Criminal Record Checks in North Carolina

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Employers in North Carolina are permitted or required to conduct criminal record checks in accordance with these rules.

Criminal record checks are permitted for individual who are employed by or who apply for employment with the following:

  • licensed hospitals
  • licensed nursing homes
  • licensed domiciliary care facilities
  • licensed home care agencies or hospices
  • licensed child placement agencies
  • licensed residential child care facilities
  • licensed area mental health
  • developmental disability and substance abuse authorities
  • licensed child day care facilities
  • child day care homes that are regulated by the state
  • any other organization or corporation, whether for profit or nonprofit, that provides direct care or services to children, the sick, the disabled or the elderly

The employee or applicant must consent to the record check.

An offer of employment by a licensed North Carolina nursing home or contract agency of a nursing home to an applicant to fill a position that does not require the applicant to have an occupational license is conditioned on the applicant's consent to a criminal history records check. An offer of employment by a licensed home care agency or contract agency of a nursing home to an applicant to fill a position that requires entering the patient's home is also conditioned on the applicant's consent to a criminal history record check.

In addition, the change in employment status of a current employee of a licensed home care agency or contract agency of a nursing home from a position that does not require entering the patient's home to a position that requires entering the patient's home must be conditioned on the current employee's consent to a criminal history record check.

An applicant who refuses to consent to a criminal history record check may not be employed. In addition, a home care agency or contract agency of a nursing home may not change a current employee's employment status from a position that does not require entering the patient's home to a position that requires entering the patient's home if the employee refuses to consent to a criminal history record check.

The request for a criminal record check must be submitted to the Department of Justice within five business days of making a conditional offer of employment. All criminal history information received by the home or agency is confidential and may not be disclosed, except to the applicant as provided below.

If an applicant's criminal history record check reveals one or more convictions of a relevant crime, the nursing home or contract agency of the nursing home must consider all of the following factors in determining whether to hire the applicant:

  • the level and seriousness of the crime
  • the date of the crime
  • the age of the person at the time of the conviction
  • the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, if known
  • the connection between the criminal conduct of the person and the job duties of the position to be filled
  • the prison, jail, probation, parole, rehabilitation and employment records of the person since the date the crime was committed
  • the subsequent commission by the person of a relevant offense

The fact that the applicant was convicted of a relevant offense alone may not be a bar to employment; however, the listed factors must be considered. If after considering the relevant factors, the decision is to not hire the applicant, then the nursing home or the contract agency may disclose information contained in the criminal history record check that is relevant to the disqualification to the applicant, but may not provide him or her a copy of the criminal history record.

Similar requirements apply to applicants for employment by a licensed adult care home or by a licensed contract agency of an adult care home.

Criminal record checks are required of applicants and employees of North Carolina's Department of Human Resources who provide direct care for a client, patient, student, resident or ward of the Department. National criminal record checks, using fingerprints, are required of all persons who have not resided in North Carolina during the past five years.

All applicants for licensing as registered nurses or licensed practical nurses must consent to a criminal history record check.

Prospective employees of private protection services must undergo criminal records checks.

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