Policy on Background Checks for Faculty and Non-Faculty Employees, Student Employees, and Affiliates

 

University Policy

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Background Checks for Faculty and Non-Faculty Employees, Student Employees, and Affiliates

Introduction

Purpose

The University strives to create a welcoming and safe environment for all members of the University community.  Consistent with this goal, the University will not employ persons or appoint unpaid affiliates with prior non-expunged criminal convictions, arrests, charges or driving records (when driving a state-owned or personal/other vehicle is required as an essential function of the position) who pose an unacceptable safety risk to the University or its employees, students, visitors and community. 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.

Scope of Applicability

This policy applies to all hiring supervisors and campus representatives who are responsible for ensuring that candidates selected for employment, paid/unpaid appointments 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 (OHR) conducts background checks appropriate to the appointment and forwards the final result as described within this policy and the procedural supplement.

Policy Statement

Background checks are conducted as a condition of appointment. To be considered for an appointment, each covered individual must provide accurate and truthful information about their criminal conviction record, serious driving infractions (driving a state-owned or personal/other vehicle is required as an essential function of the position) 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or falsifies such information, may have their candidacy for appointment rejected, have their offer of appointment withdrawn, or be terminated from their active employment or affiliation with the University.

Criteria for Background Check Requirements

A background check may be required in accordance with the following policies:

Background check requirements are dependent upon the employee type as follows.

Requirements and Exceptions

A background check may be required based on the criteria below unless a background check was completed on the candidate within twelve (12) months of the new position effective date.

Upon request from the hiring department, the respective central office (e.g. Office of Human Resources (OHR), Academic Personnel (AP), Office of Postdoc Affairs (OPA), and Office for the Protection of Minors (POM) etc.) will assess whether or not the previous background check results are valid for the new position. For more information, refer to the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Background Check Supplemental Procedures.


 

Paid Appointments

Appointment Type Requirement Exceptions
SHRA Permanent

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire appointment resulting    from a competitive recruitment

· Subsequent job changes resulting from a competitive recruitment:

· Temporary to permanent

· Promotion
· Lateral transfer

A background check is not required in the following cases if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Employee is reclassified, remaining in same position with similar duties (including EHRA-to-SHRA conversions)

· Employee placed in another position in lieu of layoff


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

EHRA Non-Faculty Permanent

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire appointment resulting from competitive recruitment

· Transfers or job changes with a new primary job indicator in ConnectCarolina

· Subsequent job changes resulting from a competitive recruitment:

· Temporary to permanent

· Promotion
· Lateral transfer


· Subsequent job changes to a senior administrative appointment (SAAO I/II) with a primary job indicator in ConnectCarolina

A background check is not required in the following cases if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Employee is reclassified, remaining in same position with similar duties (including SHRA-to-EHRA conversions)

· Secondary EHRA Non-Faculty appointment (with secondary job indicator in ConnectCarolina)


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

Fixed-Term Faculty and Untenured Faculty

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire appointment resulting from competitive recruitment

· Transfers or job changes with a primary job indicator in ConnectCarolina

· Subsequent job changes from Adjunct Faculty (with and with no intent to pay) to Fixed-Term Faculty appointment

· Subsequent job changes to senior administrative appointments (SAAO I/II) with a primary job indicator in ConnectCarolina

*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.
Tenured Faculty

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire appointment resulting from competitive recruitment

· Promotions conferring tenure:

· Adjunct Faculty (with intent to pay) to Tenured Faculty

· Adjunct Faculty (with no intent to pay) to Tenured Faculty

· Fixed-Term Faculty to Tenured Faculty


· Subsequent job changes to senior administrative appointments (SAAO I/II) with a primary job indicator in ConnectCarolina

A background check is not required in the following cases if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Reappointment

· Tenured Faculty to Tenured Faculty job change in the same or different department

· Secondary Faculty appointment with secondary job indicator in ConnectCarolina


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

     
EHRA Adjunct Faculty with Intent to Pay (Employee Classification)

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire Adjunct Faculty appointment (with intent to pay)

· Subsequent job changes from Adjunct Faculty (with no intent to pay) to Adjunct Faculty (with intent to pay)

A background check is not required in the following cases if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Secondary Adjunct Faculty appointment (with or with no intent to pay) in the same or different department with secondary job indicator in ConnectCarolina

· Tenured Faculty to Adjunct Faculty (with or with no intent to pay) job change

· Fixed-term Faculty to Adjunct Faculty (with or with no intent to pay) job change


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

SHRA/EHRA Direct-Hire Temporary (UNC Student)

A background check is required for:


· Student employees enrolled at UNC-CH who have contact with minors (i.e. Residential Advisors or non-residential programs such as YMCA and other 3rd party programs)

· Student employees who do not re-enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill

· UNC student employees driving vehicles as a primary part of the job duties (in this case, a DMV check only must be conducted)

A background check is not required in the following cases:


· Student employees enrolled at UNC-CH who do not have contact with minors or meet any of the other criteria which require them to have a background check


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

SHRA/EHRA Direct-Hire Temporary (Non-UNC Student)

Including:
· Post-doctoral Scholars
· Chief medical residents
· Medical fellows

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire appointment resulting from a competitive recruitment

· Subsequent or concurrent direct-hire temporary appointments resulting from a competitive recruitment

A background check is not required in the following cases if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Temporary employee returns to a temporary appointment in the same department doing same or similar work following a State-mandated 31-day break as long as break does not exceed 120 days

· Employee moves from one temporary appointment to another or begins concurrent temporary appointment as long as the break in service does not exceed 120 days

· Employee moves from a permanent to temporary SHRA/EHRA Non-Faculty position as long as break in service does not exceed 120 days


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

SHRA/EHRA Direct-Hire Temporary UNC ORP Retiree

 

A background check is required for:

· Rehire retiree appointment after more than a 120 day break in service

A background check is not required for the following if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Rehire retiree returns to the University within 120 days of retirement


*If driving is a primary function of the job, a “Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

Center for Disease Control/United States Department of Agriculture (CDC/USDA) Tier 1 Select Agent

A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire appointment resulting from a competitive recruitment appointment

· Every three (3) years thereafter (Background check is initiated by EHS)

Refer to Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) website

Unpaid Appointments

Appointment Type Requirement Exceptions Related Policy
EHRA Adjunct Faculty with No Intent to Pay (Contingent Worker Classification)

 A background check is required for:


· New hire or rehire Adjunct Faculty appointment (with no intent to pay)

 A background check is not required for the following if the position does not have contact with minors and/or driving is not a primary responsibility*:


· Secondary Adjunct Faculty appointment (with no intent to pay) in the same or different department

· Tenured Faculty to Adjunct Faculty (with no intent to pay) job change

· Fixed-Term Faculty to Adjunct Faculty (with no intent to pay) job change


* If driving is a primary function of the job, a “MVR Only” check must be conducted even if a full background check is not required.

 Not Applicable
UNC Independent Contractor

 A background check is required for:


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

The above information represents highlights of the extended Policy 708 – Independent Contractor Policy. Please Refer to the related policy for additional information

A background check is not required when:

· 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 their own facilities, has no access to confidential or protected records or data and has no direct contact with sensitive populations


 

Independent Contractor Policy

This policy is managed by Disbursement Services.
Unpaid Volunteer, Intern, and Visiting Scholar 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
The above information represents highlights of the extended policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars. Please Refer to the related policy for additional information.
· 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 date, populations or facilities
The above information represents highlights of the extended policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars. Please Refer to the related policy for additional information.
Policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns, and Visiting Scholars
This policy is managed by Employment & Staffing in the Office of Human Resources.
Individual Covered by Protection of Minors
Policy          
· 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
The above information represents highlights of the extended University Policy on the Protection of Minors. Please Refer to the related policy for additional information.
· 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:
A. 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;
B. 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. 
The above information represents highlights of the extended University Policy on the Protection of Minors. Please Refer to the related policy for additional information.

Policy on Protection of Minors

Standard on Protection of Minors

Protection of Minors Procedures

This policy is managed by the Office for the Protection of Minors.

Confidentiality

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 their background check results by submitting a request to the OHR Records & Information unit.

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 Background Check 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 their designee.

Credentials Check

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

Offer of Employment

Unless a contingent offer of employment is authorized, the appointing department must receive the final results of a background check that demonstrate satisfactory outcome (with the exception of the credentials verification) prior to: extending an offer of employment or appointing an unpaid affiliate and the individual reporting for duty or performing services for the university. For more information, refer to the Background Check Procedural Supplement.

Effective Date/Report for Duty

An appointment effective date shall be no later than six (6) months after the background check is completed with no disqualifying results; unless the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources or their designee approves an exception to policy. 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 Background Check Procedural Supplement.

Adverse Background Check Results

Prior non-expunged criminal convictions, arrests, charges, serious driving infractions (when driving a state-owned or personal/other vehicle is required as an essential function of the position), or falsification of credentials revealed in background checks will be assessed for potential risks to the proposed appointment of a covered individual. OHR, or the respective central office in consultation with the appointing Department Head and the School/Division Human Resources officer or their 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 Background Check Procedural Supplement.

Reporting of Criminal Convictions

As per the policy on Reporting of Criminal Convictions for Current Staff, Non-Faculty and Faculty Employees, Student Employees and Affiliates, faculty, staff, and student employees, as well as paid and unpaid affiliates (e.g. UNC Chapel Hill independent contractors, volunteers, interns and visiting scholars) and individuals who have contact with minors, are required to report any criminal conviction(s) as outlined in the policy within five (5) 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 policy on Reporting of Criminal Convictions for Current Staff, Non-Faculty and Faculty Employees, Student Employees and Affiliates.

Environment, Health & Safety Suitability Assessment Program

Background checks are required for individuals participating the University's CDC/USDA Tier 1 Select Agent program while working with Tier 1 biological CDC/USDA Select Agents and toxins (BSAT). The suitability assessment program can be divided into two sections. The pre-access suitability assessment determines whether an individual has the appropriate credentials and background to be allowed access to Tier 1 BSAT. The initial background check is conducted by the hiring department for new employees. Additional background checks are conducted every three (3) years by the EHS Biosafety Unit as part of the ongoing suitability assessment, to ensure that the individual continues to be suitable for Tier 1 BSAT access.

Criminal background checks are also required for anyone needing unescorted access privileges to devices containing large quantities of radionuclides for research purposes. The specific policies are documented in the "UNC Enhanced Security Program for Radioactive Materials Quantities of Concern" which is required to be withheld from public disclosure under North Carolina General Statute § 104E-9(a)(4).

Definitions

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 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 non-expunged criminal convictions and acknowledgements of criminal responsibility (e.g., pleas, prayers for judgment, etc.) for any unlawful offense, including but not limited to those subject to the jurisdiction of a military court, violations of local ordinances or state laws that result in fines, misdemeanors, or felonies. Previous non-expunged convictions, arrests or charges do not automatically disqualify a candidate from consideration for employment/appointment. The University will perform an individualized assessment to determine whether the underlying conduct warrants exclusion from employment based on several factors, including the nature of the underlying conduct, nature of the job, and the time elapsed since the conduct occurred.  Please refer to the Background Check Supplemental Procedures for additional information. Consistent with applicable law, any expunged arrest, charge or conviction is not required to be disclosed and will not be considered as a condition of employment.

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.

EHRA employee: any individual employed by the state and is Exempt from the Human Resources Act (EHRA).

SHRA employee: any individual employed by the state under the State Human Resources Act (SHRA).

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

UNC 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 Human Resources Act, commonly known as SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty appointments.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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).

Roles and Responsibilities

Academic Personnel Office (APO): 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 their 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 their designee to assess potential risks of adverse background check results.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources (AVC OHR): 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 UNC 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 (EHS): may be consulted to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for federally regulated select agent appointments

Department of Public Safety (DPS): 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.

EHRA Non-Faculty Consultant, Office of Human Resources: receives background check forms for EHRA permanent and temporary appointments; 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 Human Resources (OHR): the university office that issues and manages this policy.

Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA): 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 (OUC): 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.

Talent Acquisition Partner (TAP), 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 their designee to assess potential risks of adverse background check results for SHRA permanent appointments.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

Fair Credit Reporting Act

North Carolina Session Law 2013-53

North Carolina General Statute § 104E-9(a)(4)

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Background Check Policy - Supplemental Procedures

Independent Contractor Policy

Policy on Unpaid Volunteers, Interns and Visiting Scholars

Reporting of Criminal Convictions for Current Staff, Non-Faculty and Faculty Employees, Student Employees and Affiliates

SHRA Direct Hire Temporary Overview and Appointment Types

Contact Information

Primary Contact

The Office of Human Resources Background Check unit is responsible for this procedure and is responsible for compliance and enforcement. For assistance concerning this policy, please contact the Background Check Supervisor via the Office of Human Resources Service Center at (919) 843-2300.

Important Dates

Original Effective Date

  • September 01, 2002, approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources

Revisions

  • July 1, 2020 - Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • February 10, 2020 - Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • October 5, 2018 - Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • December 1, 2017 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • September 1, 2017 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • July 1, 2017 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • April 3, 2017 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • December 4, 2015 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • September 12, 2014 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • July 1, 2014 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • April 4, 2013 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • May 1, 2011 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • November 12, 2010 – Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources
  • July 1, 2007 - Approved by: Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Human Resources

Approved by:

Linc Butler

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Details

Article ID: 131796
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:17 PM
Modified
Wed 4/14/21 12:47 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
10/30/2020 1:11 PM
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10/30/2020 1:11 PM
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10/30/2020 1:11 PM
Origination
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10/05/2018 12:00 AM