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North Carolina Background Check Laws

What are North Carolina’s  background check and ban-the-box laws?

North Carolina currently has no statewide fair-hiring or ban-the-box laws. The following North Carolina cities and counties have passed resolutions and enacted ordinances that supplement the FCRA:

Asheville, NC:  Per Asheville City Council Resolution 16-29, passed on January 26, 2016, City hiring practices were amended to ban-the-box on employment applications, with the exception of certain sensitive positions

Buncombe County, NC:  On April 19, 2016, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners passed a County Resolution removing any questions about criminal history from their job applications.

Carrboro, NC:  On October 16, 2012 the Carrboro Board of Aldermen voted to ban-the-box on all Town of Carrboro job applications, and incorporated the EEOC criteria to individually assess job applicants.

Charlotte, NC:  On February 28, 2014 the city banned the box on City job applications.

Cumberland County, NC:  A new pre-employment background check policy was implemented by Cumberland County Commissioners. Additionally, the Commissioners voted to ban-the-box on September 6, 2011. 

Durham City, NC:  In February 2011, Durham City banned the box on City job applications, and limited background checks to only those potential employees that had been issued a conditional offer of employment.

Durham County, NC:  Effective October 1, 2012, Durham County instituted an Administrative Procedure applying to County jobs, banning the box on job applications (unless mandated by law for certain sensitive positions), and stipulating that the timing of background checks will be only after the applicant has been determined to be fully qualified for the job, and the applicant has been given a conditional offer of employment. Additionally, EEOC criteria will be used in conducting individualized assessments. If adverse action is contemplated, based on the background check results, the applicant will be provided with a copy of the background check and notified of their right to appeal the decision. Furthermore, arrests and convictions that were dismissed or expunged cannot be considered in evaluating candidates for employment.

Forsyth County, NC:  On April 12, 2018, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to ban the box from most county job applications. The short resolution created a Fair Chance Employment Policy which will be developed and implemented by the county human resources department “to ensure that the hiring practices of the County do not unfairly deny employment to people with criminal conviction records which are not job related.”

Mecklenburg County, NC:  On March 16, 2016, the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners directed the county manager to ban the box on the County’s application for employment.

New Hanover County, NC:  On July 1, 2016, the County Manager issued New Hanover County Administrative Memorandum N0. 16-001, which banned the box from job applications, limited background checks to those otherwise qualified applicants who are given a conditional offer of employment, incorporated EEOC criteria in the conduct of individualized assessments, mandated that the applicant be provided with notice of any intent to take an adverse action, along with the right to appeal an adverse determination. Any expunged records will not be considered.  The Memorandum applies to all County agencies and departments with the exception of the Sheriff’s Office and the Register of Deeds Office, that can choose whether or not to comply with the policy.

Spring Lake, NC:  Effective June 25, 2012, the Town of Spring Lake instituted a comprehensive policy regarding criminal background checks for positions with the Town, incorporating the EEOC criteria in individualized assessment of the criminal history of job applicants, on a case-by-case basis.

Wake County, NC:  Wake County has banned the box on all public employment and government job applications.  

Wilmington, NC:  On May 1, 2018, the Wilmington City Council passed a resolution and ordinance to ban the box (except for some sensitive positions), limit the positions requiring background checks, and delay such checks until late in the on-boarding process after a decision has been made to extend a conditional offer to the applicant. If adverse action is contemplated the applicant will be notified and allowed to submit evidence of inaccuracies in the record, mitigating circumstances, or rehabilitation. The ordinance specifies the positions for which a background check is required, and also specifies which past convictions would disqualify a person from holding those positions. The city manager may allow an applicant to remain in the hiring process in spite of a misdemeanor or a felony conviction where the last date of incarceration/probation/parole occurred over seven years prior to the current application.

Winston-Salem, NC:  On November 20, 2017, the Winston-Salem City Council passed City of Winston-Salem Resolution No. 17-925, removing the box inquiring about prior convictions from city job applications.

Cities Include: Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro,  Durham, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Cary, Wilmington, High Point, Greenville and more.

Note: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with your own legal counsel for advice related to your state/locality.