REG 05.55.08 – Background Checks

Authority: Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration

History: First Issued: March 8, 2007. Last Revised: July 25, 2023.

Contact Info:Director, Talent Acquisition, Employment, and HR Service Center (919-515-4276)

Related Policies:
UNC Policy Manual 300.8.7[R] – Regulation on Pre-Employment Background Checks and Applicant Salary History

NCSU REG 01.25.18 – Programs that Involve the Participation of Minors

Additional References:  HR Job Posting and Background Check Requirement Chart

1. Purpose/Definition

1.1 North Carolina State University (“NC State”) 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. The University conducts 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 relationship of the conduct to the specific job duties and responsibilities that would be performed by the covered individual, if appointed; the nature, gravity, and context of events surrounding the conduct, as evidenced by the background check and any supplementary information that can be obtained by NC State or that is promptly provided by the covered individual; the time that has elapsed since the conduct occurred and/or the completion of any sentence served; the individual’s demonstrated behavior since any conviction and the future potential for illegal activity by the individual, as might be inferred from a past pattern of conduct; any other extenuating circumstances documented by the covered individual or otherwise known to NC State (e.g., the age of the covered person at the time of the conduct or the totality of the circumstances); and the truthfulness and completeness of the candidate’s disclosure of the conviction(s).

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.

1.4 Background checks will be used only to evaluate individuals for employment or volunteer purposes and will not be used to discriminate on a person’s membership in a protected group as defined by NCSU POL 04.25.05 – Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination and Affirmative Action Policy.

2. Covered Individuals

2.1 The final candidate(s) for all faculty, EHRA non-faculty, SHRA staff, and post-doctoral and CVM house officer positions, as well as final candidate(s) for unpaid appointments (except emeritus and NC State retirees) and all temporary appointments (other than student positions where work is incidental to the individual’s status as an NC State student) 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) are subject to background checks. Accordingly, employees are required to report any conviction to their immediate supervisor within 5 calendar days of the conviction. The immediate supervisor will notify Human Resources (HR) within 5 calendar 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 if the individual is not on the University’s payroll. Those who work or volunteer closely with, interact, supervise, instruct, or otherwise come into direct, non-incidental contact with Minors in a Program/Activity per NCSU REG 01.25.18 are subject to a background check every three years.

2.5 Household members, ages 18 and over, who live with a 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) 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; access to information or assets, or reasonable suspicion. Students working/volunteering with minors as “Covered Individuals” per NCSU REG 01.25.18 are subject to background checks every 3 years.

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. However, those working/volunteering in a Program/Activity with minors within the scope of NCSU REG 01.25.18 as “Covered Individuals” including public school teachers and any other professionals who are background checked through their primary employer must also have a background check through the NC State Background Check Program. At a minimum, criminal background checks must be run on Covered Individuals every three years.

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.

4.6 Emeritus faculty and NC State University retirees, unless otherwise indicated as a “Covered Individual” under Section 2.

5. Procedures

5.1 Final candidates (both internal and external) must provide a signed release form, often electronically directly to the Background Check vendor.

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 the candidate’s 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 Employee Relations, the Office of General Counsel University Police, and Violence Prevention and Threat Management 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.