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Expunged Records Are Off Limits to Employers in North Carolina

By Michael Klazema on 2/3/2014

The North Carolina legislators passed Senate Bill 93 last year for the purpose of clearing the public record of any entry of any arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction that has been expunged. The bill also clarifies that an administrative licensing board may reissue a license if an administrative action is vacated due to an expunged record.

Employers and educational institutions in North Carolina are prohibited as of December 1, 2013, from requiring an applicant for employment or admission to disclose information about an arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction that has been expunged. The law also prohibits them from inquiring about an expunged arrest, charge, or conviction in an application, interview, or otherwise. It also prohibits an inquiry about an arrest, charge or conviction that they know has been expunged. The law further protects individuals with expunged records by permitting them to omit reference to the expunged charges or convictions to potential employers and others.

The law does not prohibit an employer from asking a job applicant about criminal charges or convictions that have not been expunged and are part of the public record.

Violations of the law will result in a written warning for the first event. Each additional violation will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500. The state’s Commission of Labor will consider the size of the business, the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the person, and the record of previous violations when accessing penalties. There is an appeal process is available to employers.

Senate Bill 91 also amended the General Statutes section 15A-145.4 that deals with expungement of juvenile first offender non-violent crimes, and section 15A-145.5 that deals with expungement of non-violent misdemeanors and felonies. Each section now requires state agencies to vacate any administrative actions taken on the basis of an expunged record and allows the individual to reapply for any occupational licenses previously denied.

Other provisions of the law deal with state or local governments making inquiries into expunged criminal records of applicants.

This new law in North Carolina is similar to other state laws being passed or proposed that prohibit employers from obtaining or using information about an applicant or employee’s criminal convictions that have been expunged.

You may view Senate Bill 91 here: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2013/Bills/Senate/PDF/S91v6.pdf


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