The University strives to create a welcoming and safe environment for all individuals. Consistent with this goal, the University will not employ individuals or appoint unpaid affiliates with prior criminal convictions or driving records (when applicable) who are determined to pose an unacceptable safety risk to the University or its employees, students and visitors.

The University’s background check process is intended to identify the presence of any such circumstances and to provide a basis for making good faith and sound determinations as to whether such matters rise to the level barring appointment. A background check must be satisfactorily completed prior to employment or appointment.

This policy applies to all hiring supervisors, who are responsible for ensuring that candidates selected for employment and volunteer opportunities, as applicable according to this policy, provide the information necessary for the University to conduct appropriate background checks. The Background Check unit of the Office of Human Resources conducts background checks appropriate to the position being filled and forwards the results as described within this policy.
Background checks are conducted as a condition of appointment. In order to be considered for an appointment, each covered individual must provide accurate and truthful information about his/her criminal conviction record, driving infractions (when applicable) and any required credentials using the prescribed method. A covered individual who fails to provide the required information in a complete and timely manner, or who willfully omits, conceals or falsifies such information, may have his/her candidacy for appointment rejected, have his/her offer of appointment withdrawn, or be terminated from his/her active employment or affiliation with the University.

Regardless of employee type, a background check is required when in accord with any of the following:

Barring any of these conditions, the background check requirement is dependent upon the employee type. Please note: A new background check is required for job changes between employee types (i.e., SHRA to EHRA, temporary to permanent, etc.).

Paid Appointments

I. SHRA Permanent

Requirement(s)

  • Initial appointment resulting from a competitive recruitment
  • Subsequent job changes resulting from a competitive recruitment

Exception(s)

  • Employee is reclassified, remaining in same position with similar duties (including SHRA-to-EHRA conversions)
  • Employee moves from one University position to another in same or different work unit and has had a satisfactory background check completed within six (6) months* of the effective date of new position
    * Upon request from the hiring department, the respective central office (e.g. OHR, APO, EHRA Non-Faculty HR, etc.) will assess whether or not the previous background check results are valid for the new position.

II. EHRA Non-Faculty Permanent

Requirement(s)

  • Initial appointment resulting from a competitive recruitment
  • Subsequent job changes resulting from a competitive recruitment

Exceptions

  • Employee is reclassified, remaining in same position with similar duties (including SHRA-to-EHRA conversions)
  • Employee moves from one University position to another in same or different work unit and has had a satisfactory background check completed within six (6) months of the effective date of new position
    * Upon request from the hiring department, the respective central office (e.g. OHR, APO, EHRA Non-Faculty HR, etc.) will assess whether or not the previous background check results are valid for the new position.

III. Faculty Permanent

Requirement(s)

  • Initial appointment
  • Subsequent job changes to senior administrative appointments

Exception(s)

  • Subsequent rehire into a Faculty appointment
  • Secondary Faculty appointments

IV. Faculty Temporary with Intent to Pay

Requirement(s)

  • Initial paid adjunct appointment

Exception(s)

  • Secondary adjunct appointments in another school/division

V. SHRA/EHRA Temporary (UNC Student)

Requirement(s)

  • UNC student employees working with minors
  • Student employees working with residential and non-residential programs
  • Student employees who do not re-enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill

Exception(s)

  • Student employees enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill who do not meet any of the circumstances when a background check is required

VI. SHRA/EHRA Temporary (Non-UNC Student)

Including:

  • Post-doctoral Scholars
  • Chief medical residents
  • Medical fellows

Requirement(s)

  • Initial appointment resulting from a competitive recruitment
  • Subsequent or concurrent temporary appointments resulting from a competitive recruitment

Exception(s)

  • Employee moves from one University position to another in a different work unit and has a satisfactory background check within six (6) months* of the effective date of the new position
    * Upon request from the hiring department, the respective central office (e.g. OHR, APO, EHRA Non-Faculty HR, etc.) will assess whether or not the previous background check results are valid for the new position.
  • Employee returns to the same department doing same or similar work following a State-mandated 31-day break as long as break does not exceed 90 days
  • Employee moves from one temporary appointment to another or begins concurrent temporary appointment within same work unit

Unpaid Appointments

I. Faculty Temporary with No Intent to Pay

Requirement(s)

  • Initial unpaid adjunct appointment

Exception(s)

  • Secondary adjunct appointments in another school/division

II. Independent Contractors

Requirement(s)

Any of the following apply:

  • Assignment will last more than ten(10) calendar days (may be consecutive or intermittent)
  • Assignment involves a continuous relationship
  • Assignment involves access to sensitive populations, facilities and/or data
  • Work in another department is different from and/or is performed for another department
  • Independent contractor has not had a background check in the past six (6) months

Refer to the Independent Contractor Policy for additional information.

Exception(s)

  • Assignment will last ten (10) or less calendar days (may be consecutive or intermittent)
  • Assignment does not involve access to sensitive populations, facilities and/or data
  • Independent contractor will perform assignment in his/her own facilities, has no access to confidential or protected records or data and has no direct contact with sensitive populations
  • Independent contractor has had a background check in the past six (6) months*
    * Upon request from the hiring department, the respective central office (e.g. OHR, APO, EHRA Non-Faculty HR, etc.) will assess whether or not the previous background check results are valid for the new position.

Refer to the Independent Contractor Policy for additional information.

III. Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars

Requirement(s)

Any of the following apply:

  • Assignment will last for more than ten (10) calendar days
  • Individual will have unsupervised access to sensitive data, populations, or facilities

Refer to the Policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars for additional information.

Exception(s)

  • Individual is under the age of eighteen (18) or a high school student 
  • Assignment will last for ten (10) calendar days or less
  • Individual is a current UNC-Chapel Hill student who does not have unsupervised access to sensitive data, populations or facilities

Refer to the Policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars for additional information.

IV. Protection of Minors Policy

Requirement(s)

  • All individuals (faculty, staff, students and affiliates) eighteen (18) years of age or older who work with, instruct, or otherwise come into Direct Contact with minors
  • “Direct Contact” is defined as care, guidance, control, or supervision of minors in group or one-to-one settings or the potential for one-to-one interaction with minors
  • Subsequent background checks are required for all individuals covered by the policy every twelve (12) months unless any of the exceptions applies

Exception(s)

  • A background check was satisfactorily completed on the individual in the last twelve (12) months
  • There are two exceptions under which a Program Staff member are required to have subsequent background checks every five (5) years:
    –  Program Staff who are university employees or students and who are also continuously employed by or enrolled in the University without any break in their employment or enrollment that lasts one hundred twenty (120) days or more;
    –  Program Staff members continuously employed by or volunteering for third-party entities who do not have a break in employment or volunteer service that lasts one hundred twenty (120) days or more.

Refer to the following policies for more information:

University officials who process information collected pursuant to this policy will ensure that it is held confidentially and securely and that it is disclosed only to University or State officials who have a direct role in acting on this information. This information is considered non-public personnel information; however, all new candidates/appointees will be notified via email from the background-check vendor when background-check results are available to view online or by contacting the background-check unit at backgroundcheck@unc.edu. Once hired, the employee may request a copy of his/her background check results by submitting a request to the Office of Human Resources (OHR) Records & Information unit.
If a background check is required (see Audience section), the appointing department will submit a request to the appropriate HR representative to initiate an online background-check invitation to the candidate/appointee. For detailed instructions regarding the background-check request process, please refer to the Procedural Supplement. Pursuant to North Carolina Session Law 2013-53, any State entity requesting disclosure of information concerning any arrest, criminal charge or criminal conviction of the applicant shall first advise the applicant that State law allows the applicant to not disclose any arrest, charge or conviction that has been expunged.

The University uses a web-based system to initiate and process background checks – a process that must be initiated by the prospective employee. To assist the candidate in initiating the process, we send them this Candidate Welcome Email with instructions.

Candidate Welcome Email

Once the University’s background check service provider receives the completed online candidate submission, the following background checks will be conducted:

  • a criminal convictions check for all municipal and state jurisdictions in which the covered individual has lived or worked within the past seven (7) years (results reported by the consumer reporting agency beyond this time frame may be considered)
  • a criminal convictions check of federal court records
  • a national sex offender registry check
  • a check of applicable federal debarment databases for covered individuals in paid appointments
  • a driver’s license record check of applicable state motor vehicle licensing agencies for any covered individual whose formal duties include driving
  • an education credential check when a degree is used to qualify the candidate, applied as a pay factor, or required by regulation for the position. Any degree that is verified must be from an accredited educational institution a professional licensure checks for any covered individual whose position requires a professional license

Driver’s License Check

The University has incorporated a mandatory driver’s license check as part of the background check for covered individuals for whom driving is required as part of their formal duties, or who could be reasonably expected while performing those duties to drive a University/State-owned vehicle. This requirement does not apply to individuals who may routinely drive their own vehicles to meetings or events while performing their duties in the course of their job. For more information, refer to the Procedural Supplement.

Federal Debarment Check

The University has incorporated mandatory checks for federal debarment through the System for Award Management (SAM) and Office of Inspectors General (OIG) exclusion databases as part of the background check process for all candidates for paid appointments. Individuals in unpaid appointments are exempt from the federal debarment checks. Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the University may not employ an individual who is currently debarred from employment with a federal contractor. If the background check reveals that an individual is currently debarred from employment with a federal contractor, OHR will notify the appointing Department Head and the School/Division Human Resources Officer or his/her designee.

Credentials Check

As per the Recruitment and Hiring Policy and Background Check Policy, State laws require the verification of certain credentials. For more information, refer to the Procedural Supplement.

The appointing department must receive the final results of a background check (with the exception of the credentials verification) prior to extending an offer of employment or appointing an unpaid affiliate. For more information, refer to the Procedural Supplement.
An appointment effective date shall be no later than six (6) months after the background check is completed with no disqualifying results. If this timeline is exceeded, a new background check must be completed prior to the covered individual reporting for duty. For more information, refer to the Procedural Supplement.
Prior criminal convictions, serious driving infractions (when applicable), or falsification of credentials revealed in background checks will be assessed for potential risks to the proposed appointment of a covered individual. OHR, in consultation with the appointing Department Head and the School/Division Human Resources officer or his/her designee, may exercise discretion in determining whether there are mitigating factors which may still permit the appointment to proceed.

In the event of an adverse background check that results in a potential determination that bars appointment, a covered individual is entitled to certain notification rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. For more information, refer to the Procedural Supplement.

As per the Reporting of Criminal Convictions policy, faculty, staff, student employees, UNC Chapel Hill independent contractors, as well as paid and unpaid affiliates including volunteers, interns and visiting scholars and other individuals who have contact with minors are required to report any criminal conviction(s) as outlined in the policy within five business days of the convictions or other covered criminal disposition or at the first possible opportunity if the individual is incarcerated.
For more information, refer to the Reporting of Criminal Convictions policy.

background check: a search of federal, state and municipal jurisdictions for criminal convictions, national sex offender registration, driver’s license history, and education credential and professional licensure verification. For paid appointees, the University also checks federal contractor debarment status. These background checks are all intended to provide relevant information to the University about the candidate’s suitability for appointment in a particular position.

covered individual: an individual subject to the provisions of this policy

credentials: the highest job-related post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate and/or any professional license, registration or certification used to qualify the candidate, applied as a pay factor, or required by regulation for the position

criminal conviction: all prior criminal convictions and acknowledgements of criminal responsibility (e.g., pleas, prayers for judgment, etc.) for any unlawful offense, including those subject to the jurisdiction of a military court. Arrests and charges that do not result in a criminal conviction as well as any expunged actions are excluded and will not be considered in the hiring process.

driving infractions: all driving-related charges, prayers for judgment, and non-contested charges for which the covered individual has been found guilty and which are recorded on the covered individual’s driving record by a court and/or state motor vehicle licensing authority

faculty employee: any individual who serves as a paid or unpaid faculty member

independent contractor: an individual engaged by the University but determined to be a contractor rather than an employee based on U.S. Internal Revenue Service and University procurement guidelines

non-faculty employee: any employee other than a Faculty member who may or may not be covered by the State Personnel Act, commonly known as SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty appointments

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulated select agent: a subset of biological agents and toxins that the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture have determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety, to animal or plant health, or to animal or plant products.

unpaid affiliates: individuals engaged by the University in unpaid capacities in support of the University’s mission of teaching, research and public service (e.g., volunteers, interns and visiting scholars)

Academic Personnel Office: works with appointing department head and school/division HR officer to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for faculty appointments; in the case of pre-adverse and adverse action notifications for faculty appointments, sends notification and works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer or his/her designee to finalize decision

Appointing Department: routes completed background check forms to appropriate destination; pays background check fees

Appointing Department Head: seeks appointment/report-for-duty exception from the Associate Vice Chancellor prior to completion of a non-disqualifying background check; works with OHR and the school/division HR officer or his/her designee to assess potential risks of adverse background check results

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources: approves appointment/report-for-duty exception prior to completion of a non-disqualifying background check

Background Check Supervisor, Office of Human Resources: works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for independent contractors, SHRA temporary appointments, unpaid affiliates, and special checks

Background Check Unit, Office of Human Resources: receives background-check requests for faculty, EHRA non-faculty, and all SHRA/EHRA temporary appointments; conducts all background-check requests; assesses adverse background check results; notifies appointing departments of background check results

Dean: reviews completed background check forms for faculty appointments; forwards forms to OHR Background Check Unit

Department of Environment, Health & Safety: may be consulted to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for federally regulated select agent appointments

Department of Public Safety: may be consulted to assess potential risks of adverse background check results

Director, EHRA Non-Faculty, Office of Human Resources: in the case of pre-adverse and adverse action notifications for EHRA non-faculty appointments, sends notification and works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer to finalize a decision

Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs: if necessary, in the case of pre-adverse and adverse action notifications for postdoctoral-fellow appointments, sends notification and works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer to finalize a decision

Talent Acquisition Partner, Office of Human Resources: receives background check forms for SHRA permanent and unpaid appointments; works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer or his/her designee to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for SHRA permanent appointments

EHRA Non-Faculty Unit, Office of Human Resources: works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for EHRA non-faculty appointments

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs: works with the appointing department head and school/division HR officer to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for postdoctoral fellow appointments

Office of University Counsel: may be consulted to assess potential risks of adverse background check results

School/Division HR Officer: works with OHR and the appointing department head to assess potential risks of adverse background check results

Senior Director, Employment & Staffing, Office of Human Resources: in the case of pre-adverse and adverse action notifications for independent contractors, SHRA appointments, unpaid appointments, and special checks, sends notification and works with appointing Department Head and School/Division HR Officer to finalize decision; deems appropriate additional means of communicating pre-adverse and adverse action notifications

I. General questions regarding background check policy/procedures

OHR Staffing Support Services Manager(919) 843-4160
See Directory for specific e-mail contactsOHR Background Check Supervisor
(919) 962-2903
See Directory for specific e-mail contacts

II. Status of in-process background checks (University departments only)

OHR Background Check Specialists
(919) 843-4413 or (919) 962-9768
See Directory for specific e-mail contacts

III. Determinations on adverse background results for:

EHRA Non-Faculty Appointments

OHR EHRA Non-Faculty HR Consultant
Contact the OHR Service Center at (919) 843-2300 for contact information
See Directory for specific e-mail contacts

Faculty Appointments

Academic Personnel Office
(919) 962-1091
See Academic Personnel for e-mail contacts

Postdoctoral Fellow Appointments

HR Consultant, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
(919) 962-9982
See Postdoctoral Affairs for e-mail contacts

SHRA Permanent Appointments & Unpaid Affiliates (Visiting scholars, Interns, Volunteers)

OHR Talent Acquisition Partner assigned to the appointing department
Contact the OHR Service Center at (919) 843-2300 for contact information
See Directory for specific e-mail contacts

SHRA Temporary Appointments, Independent Contractors

(Also other special checks including federally regulated select agent requirements and federal debarment checks)

OHR Background Check Supervisor
(919) 962-2903
backgroundcheck@unc.edu

Residential & Non-Residential Programs Serving Minors
(who are current UNC-Chapel Hill employees and/or affiliates)

Protection of Minors Coordinator
919-843-8995
protectionofminors@unc.edu

See Protection of Minors policy for more information.

Procedural Supplement for HR Representatives