State LawsNorth Carolina

North Carolina Background Checks

A guide to North Carolina background checks

Pre-employment background checks can be used by North Carolina employers to help verify a candidate’s qualifications – including their criminal background, employment history and even their driving record. Using a background check is a key part of the hiring process, but it’s also important for employers to follow federal, state, and local laws to ensure compliance.

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When hiring new employees, a North Carolina background check can help provide insight about a candidate – beyond their employment application or resume. You can opt to screen candidates yourself or partner with a qualified consumer reporting agency, also known as a CRA. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what a North Carolina background check includes, how it’s conducted, and which federal, state and local laws may apply. 

What Is A North Carolina Background Check? 

North Carolina employers may use different types of background checks to help make informed hiring decisions about job candidates or volunteers. A NC background check can also be used as part of ongoing or periodic employee screenings. 

Background checks in North Carolina typically involve reviewing different types of records to gather more information and verify details that a candidate may have already shared. Reports may include a candidate’s criminal record, employment history, educational background, driving records, and credit history. 

Why Employers Need NC Background Checks

Using a background check can be a critical part of your organization’s hiring process. The information you may uncover can help you make fair, informed decisions and hire qualified candidates. 

It can also help you maintain a safe work environment, protect your organization against potential liability claims, and safeguard company assets. And in some cases, a NC background check may even be required to ensure your organization is in compliance with federal, state, local, and industry regulations. 

A North Carolina background check for employment may include:

  • Criminal record checks to reveal a candidate’s criminal history, including any misdemeanor and felony convictions.
  • Employment verification to confirm a candidate’s past employers, job titles held, and dates worked. 
  • Education history to verify a candidate’s enrollment, dates of attendance, and degrees earned. 
  • Professional license verification to ensure a candidate’s licenses and certifications are valid. 
  • Driving history to discover if a candidate has moving violations, accidents or DUIs, along with the status of their license. 
  • Credit checks to review a candidate’s credit history, including collections and bankruptcies. 
  • Civil court records to search for a history of civil judgments, like lawsuits or bankruptcies.
  • Drug testing to screen a candidate for controlled substances, including prescription and illicit drugs.

How To Get A North Carolina Background Check

Employers running North Carolina background checks may conduct searches on their own or partner with a qualified consumer reporting agency (CRA). If you choose to conduct North Carolina background checks on your own, you may be able to search public records along with county criminal and civil court records using the county resources provided below.

Although you can do the screenings yourself, many employers choose to outsource these services to a CRA instead. A qualified CRA, like GoodHire, can help streamline the background check process. You’ll get a single source for criminal and civil court checks, credit histories, motor vehicles records, and more. Plus, a CRA can help you navigate legal compliance when  conducting screenings, which is critical for avoiding potential fines and lawsuits. 

How Much Is A Background Check In NC?

The cost of a NC background check varies, depending on the type of information necessary for your search. If you are conducting a background check on your own, you may be able to search or request some information for free. Oftentimes, though, there are fees associated with requests for official documents, such as North Carolina MVR reports which start at around ten dollars. 

Partnering with a qualified CRA may be more cost-effective (and efficient), with prices varying depending on the type of searches and annual volume. At GoodHire, pre-employment screenings start at $29.99 per check.

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GoodHire's background check platform makes it easy to order reports and review results.

North Carolina Background Check Laws

If you conduct pre-employment background screenings in North Carolina,you must comply with federal, state, and local fair hiring laws. These laws are in place to help protect candidates from discrimination in the hiring process due to information found during criminal background checks.

Executive Order No. 158

North Carolina has a statewide ban-the-box law that applies to criminal record checks of state employees under the authority of the governor. 

Under this directive,  North Carolina government agencies are prohibited from:

  • Asking questions related to criminal history on employment applications
  • Inquiring about a candidate’s criminal history until after the first job interview 
  • Considering expunged or pardoned convictions along with charges or convictions unrelated to the position; dismissed or not-guilty charges; and arrests that didn’t result in convictions
  • Making employment decisions based on someone’s criminal record unless the criminal record is job-related and consistent with business necessity or state or federal law prohibits hiring that candidate due to criminal convictions

Should a background check reveal a criminal record, government agencies must also allow the candidate to offer an explanation about the conviction’s circumstances and provide proof of rehabilitation, such as a certificate of relief.

While North Carolina’s ban-the-box isn’t mandated for all businesses, the order does encourage compliance by all public and private organizations. 

When using a CRA to conduct a North Carolina background check, all employers must comply with federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements. These include proper disclosure of your intent to conduct a background check, obtaining written consent from the candidate, and following the adverse action process when deciding not to extend an offer of employment due to the results of a pre-employment screening. When unsure of North Carolina background check laws, employers may wish to comply with the strictest laws in order to avoid any potential liability. 

County Resources

Use the resources below to learn about ban-the-box laws and public records in North Carolina’s largest counties:

Buncombe County

Nicknamed “Land of the Sky” and located in North Carolina’s western mountain region, Buncombe County is home to 268,452 residents. Asheville, the tenth largest city in the state, is the county seat and serves as the region’s cultural, economic, and educational center. Tourism is one of the counties main industries, along with various types of agriculture including berries and fruit, dairy, swine and tobacco.

Public Information & Records

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers for the the city of Asheville and Buncombe County. Learn more

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Craven County

Home to 100,720 residents, Craven County is located in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain region and is known for its agricultural crops like soybeans, tobacco, and livestock. Lime and shell stone are mined in the county, and the region also produces a range of products such as computer parts, furniture, power tools, and textiles. The city of New Bern is the county seat and its hub of economic activity. Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens, one of North Carolina’s most popular attractions, is located in New Bern along with the pharmacy where Pepsi-Cola was invented. 

Public Information & Records

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers in the city of New Bern. Learn more

Cumberland County

Located in the Coast Plain region of North Carolina, Cumberland County has a population of 334,728 people and is the fifth largest county in the state. It’s home to many historic battlefields and landmarks. Manufacturing includes brick, concrete and metal products; power tools and textiles. The county also produces an array of agriculture products such as corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco, along with various types of livestock. The county seat is Fayetteville. 

Public Information & Records

Local ban-the-box laws apply to public sector employers in the city of Spring Lake and Cumberland county. Learn more

Durham County

Located in the state’s Piedmont region, Durham County brings in tourists with its historic landmarks, cultural institutions and events such as the American Dance Festival and the North Carolina International Jazz Festival. The county seat is the city of Durham. On the economic side, its many tech businesses call the country home. Manufacturing includes electronic equipment, fiber optics, home textiles, and surgical instruments. Agriculture is also an important industry and includes a variety of dairy and livestock, plus a range of grains, soybeans, strawberries, and tobacco. 

Public Information & Records

Local ban-the-box laws apply to public sector employers in the city of Durham and Durham county. Learn more

Forsyth County

Located in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, Forsyth County has a population of 382,590. Winston-Salem is the county seat and one of the largest cities in the state. The county is home to some major corporations, including R.J. Reynolds and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Corn, soybeans and tobacco are the county’s key crops. The region also produces furniture, optical fibers, textiles, and tractors. The county is known as one of North Carolina’s major arts and culturals centers with museums, the first state-supported arts conservatory and many events throughout the year. Major universities include Salem College, Wake Forest University, and Winston-Salem State University. 

Public Information & Records

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers in Forsyth County. Learn more

Guilford County

Located in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, Guildford County is home to 537,174 residents, making it the state’s third most populous county. The county seat is Greenboro. It’s home to several well-known high education institutions, including Guilford College, Greensboro College, Bennett College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The region is known for the production of apparel, furniture and textiles along with agricultural products such as corn, tobacco and various types of livestock. Guildford County is home to the International Home Furnishing Market in High Point, along with a number of popular cultural and sporting events. Major corporations include Jefferson-Pilot, VF, and Lorillard. 

Public Information & Records

Mecklenburg County

With 1,115,482 residents, Mecklenburg is North Carolina’s most populous city. Located in the Piedmont Region, its country seat is Charlotte, one of the largest metropolitan areas on the east coast. Charlotte is the second largest financial hub in the US and is home to several large bank headquarters, including Bank of America and Wachovia. The city is also home to the Charlotte Panthers and Charlotte Hornets along with the NASCAR Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The county has many historical and cultural landmarks, plus several top colleges. 

Public Information & Records

Local ban-the-box laws apply to public sector employers in the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg county. Learn more

Orange County

Orange County is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina and has a population of 146,027. The county seat is Hillsborough. Orange County is home to the oldest state university in the nation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with many cultural and historic landmarks and events. Agricultural crops include berries, corn, dairy, tobacco, and livestock. Topaz, hematite, granite, and clay are mined in Orange County. A variety of goods are also produced locally, including apparel, chemicals, food products, furniture, paper, and tobacco products.

Public Information & Records

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers in the town of Carrboro. Learn more

Union County

Home to 238,267 residents, Union County is located in North Carolina’s Piedmont region. Population growth is on the rise thanks to overflow from the neighboring Charlotte area. The county seat is Monroe. There are many cultural and historic landmarks located in Union County, and the county claims to be the authentic birthplace of President Andrew Jackson. Agricultural goods are still an important part of the county’s economy despite growing urbanization and include a variety of crops, dairy products, and livestock. The county also manufactures a range of products such as furniture, industrial pumps, plastic containers, and textile machinery.

Public Information & Records

Wake County

Wake County is home to 1,129,410 residents and is a mix of urban and suburban communities. The county seat is Raleigh. There are many state government institutions in Wake County, along with large corporations. The county hosts many events and is home to numerous historical landmarks and cultural institutions. Although the county is very urbanized, agriculture is still important with farmers producing a variety of nursery and landscape plants, vegetables, and tobacco. The region also manufactures high-tech products, including digital electronics, telecommunications equipment, and pharmaceuticals. In addition, a variety of materials are mined in Wake County, including corundum, beryl, graphite, kyanite, magnesite, pyrite, and soapstone. 

Public Information & Records

A local ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers in Wake County. Learn more

Get A North Carolina Background Check With GoodHire

As an employer in North Carolina, working with a qualified CRA can help streamline the background check process with speed, accuracy, and access to the right resources. A trusted CRA, like GoodHire, can also help you more easily navigate legal compliance. 

GoodHire, offers more than 100 screening options – including criminal background checks, credit history, and motor vehicle records. Plus you’ll save time, with our easy-to-use online platform with built-in, automated workflows and our FCRA-trained support team is here to help you every step of the way. Want to know how to get a background check in NC? Get in touch with our sales team

Get A North Carolina Background Check Today

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GoodHire's background check platform makes it easy to order reports and review results.
Disclaimer

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.