REG 05.55.08 - Background Checks

Authority: Vice Chancellor for Finance & Business

History: First Issued: March 8, 2007. Last Revised: April 2, 2013. 

Contact Info: Director, HR Employment Services (919-515-4277)

Additional References:  HR Job Posting and Background Check Requirement Chart


1. Purpose/Definition

1.1 NC State University is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for its students, faculty, staff, volunteers, visitors, and other constituents; and to protecting its funds, property, and other assets. Well-informed hiring decisions contribute to this effort. Effective April 1, 2007, the University began conducting background checks on persons hired for initial employment at the University, as well as current employees who change jobs or otherwise become subject to a background check as indicated in this regulation.

1.2 A previous criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify an applicant from consideration for employment with the University. Candidate eligibility depends on a variety of factors, such as the nature of, and circumstances surrounding, any crime(s); the time elapsed since conviction and the rehabilitation record; the actions and activities of the individual since the crime(s), including the individual's subsequent work history; the truthfulness and completeness of the candidate's disclosure of the conviction(s), and any other relevant information.

1.3 A “conviction” includes any unlawful offense other than a minor traffic violation, including but not limited to DUI/DWI, worthless check, and violations of local ordinances or statutes that resulted in a fine, restitution, or incarceration. Guilty verdicts, guilty pleas, prayers for judgment (PJC) and pleas of nolo contendere (no contest) must be included on any application for NC State employment unless the conviction has been expunged from the applicant’s record at the time of application.

1.4 Background checks will be used only to evaluate individuals for employment or volunteer purposes and will not be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, sex, disability, age, veteran's status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or genetic information.

2. Covered Individuals

2.1 The final candidate for all faculty, EPA non-faculty, SPA staff, and post-doctoral positions, as well as final candidates for all temporary appointments (other than student positions where work is incident to the individual's status as an NC State student), whose appointments are effective on or after April1, 2007 are subject to background checks.

2.2 Current employees who change jobs due to promotion, lateral transfer, or reassignment are subject to background checks. Current employees who assume new duties that cause the current position to become appropriate for background checks are also subject to background checks.

2.3 Current employees who are convicted of a criminal offense (other than a minor traffic violation) after April 1, 2007, are subject to background checks. Accordingly, employees are required to report any conviction to their immediate supervisor within 5 days of the conviction. The immediate supervisor will notify Human Resources (HR) within 5 days of receiving notice so that HR can conduct the background check. NC State, through HR, may conduct a public records check of current employees when there is reason to believe an employee has provided false information on employment documents. Any falsification of documents (by omission or commission) that is substantiated through a public records check may form the basis for disciplinary action against the employee.

2.4 Individuals who work or volunteer as part of a University-sponsored program or summer camp that is offered to pre-college-age minors are subject to background checks, even is the individual is not on the University’s payroll.

2.5 Household members, ages 18 and over, who live with an University employee in University-controlled housing (i.e. dormitory, research station housing, etc.) that is provided as a condition of the employee’s job requirements for the benefit of the University. Such individuals are subject to satisfactory background checks as a requirement for residency.

3. Scope and Types of Background Checks

3.1 Criminal Background Checks. Criminal history and sex offender checks will be conducted for the final candidate(s) for all positions as noted in Section 2.

3.2 Credit History Checks. A credit history will be conducted on the final candidate(s) for any positions with access to, or responsibility for, cash receipts, cash accounts, blank checks, checking accounts, or money market accounts. Credit checks will also be required for positions that initiate accounting/financial transactions that are not reviewed or verified by others; positions that have override authority for spending, receipting, HR, or billing transactions; and positions designated as Dean, Director, or Department Head. Current employees who assume these types of duties during the course of employment are also subject to credit history checks.

3.3 Motor Vehicle Checks. Motor vehicle checks will be conducted on the final candidate(s) for any positions that require the individual to drive a state vehicle as a regular part of their job responsibilities or when a dedicated vehicle is provided to the employee for the purpose of conducting University business.

4. Exceptions

4.1 Current employees are not subject to background checks unless they become a “covered individual” as indicated in Section 2.

4.2 Students who work or volunteer (secondary to their primary role as a student at NC State University) are not subject to background checks under this regulation unless requested by the hiring department based on factors such as the nature of the duties (such as working with pre-college-age minors); access to information or assets, or reasonable suspicion.

4.3 Faculty members being considered for reappointment, promotion or tenure are not subject to background checks. However, a faculty member who is the final candidate for a Senior Academic or Administrative Officer (SAAO) position is subject to background checks.

4.4 Public school teachers who work or volunteer as described in 2.4 above – and whose primary current employment as a public school teacher requires a satisfactory background check – do not require an additional background check by the University.

4.5 Individuals who provide volunteer services as described in 2.4 above that are limited in nature (such as a lecture or presentation), and who have no direct individual contact with, or oversight of, underage participants, are not subject to the background check requirement.

5. Procedures

5.1 Final candidates (both internal and external) must provide a signed release form to HR.

5.2 HR will obtain the applicable background checks. No candidate may commence work or covered volunteer activities until the background check is completed, except that in an emergency hiring situation—such as filling a vacancy to perform critical work or to ensure campus safety—the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources or designee may make an exception and allow an employee to begin work prior to completion of the background check. 

In such cases where an exception is made for a candidate to commence employment, the offer or appointment letter shall state that both the offer and continued employment are contingent on clearance of his or her background check from HR.

5.3 A discovery of falsification, including misrepresentation or failure to disclose relevant information as part of the recruitment and application process, will disqualify a candidate from employment consideration. If the candidate is a current employee, falsification may also subject the individual to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal as determined by the appropriate Dean or Vice Chancellor. 

5.4 HR will determine whether to endorse the employment recommendation, with input from other campus units such as the Office of General Counsel and/or Campus Police, as needed.

5.5 HR will communicate one of three outcomes to the hiring manager: 1) an employment endorsement or 2) a disqualification based on falsification of application materials or background check release, or 3) a non-endorsement based on the background check facts as they relate to the position.  If the hiring manager and HR do not concur on the hiring endorsement, the ultimate decision is elevated through the college’s or division’s line of reporting authority, up to the appropriate Dean or Vice Chancellor.  HR will notify candidates regarding potential adverse actions in accordance with federal fair credit reporting (FCRA) requirements.

5.6 HR will maintain background check records centrally in accordance with records retention guidelines.