North Carolina Bars Employers from Asking about Expunged Criminal Records

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Some states have passed laws restricting how employers may use an applicant’s criminal record in making job decisions. Some states prohibit employers from considering older offenses. Some states prohibit employers from asking about arrest records or records that have been sealed or expunged. Some states require employers to consider whether the offense bears a reasonable relationship to the job. And, some states provide guidance to employers on what they should and should not ask about criminal records in interviews.

North Carolina has enacted legislation prohibiting employers from asking potential employees, in job applications or interviews, to provide information about records of arrests, criminal charges or criminal convictions that have been expunged. The law, Prohibit Expunction Inquiry (S.B. 91), takes effect Dec. 1, 2013.

The law clears the public record of any entry of arrest, criminal charge or criminal conviction that has been expunged so that the person who has obtained the expunction may withhold information about the charges or convictions from potential employers and others. Under the law, anyone with an expunged record cannot be found guilty of perjury or of otherwise giving a false statement by reason of a failure to recite or acknowledge any expunged arrest, apprehension, charge, indictment, information, trial or conviction.

Upon investigation by the Commissioner of Labor or the Commissioner’s authorized representative, any employer found to be in violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be issued a written warning for a first violation and shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each additional violation occurring after receipt of the written warning. In determining the amount of any penalty ordered under authority of this section, the Commissioner shall give due consideration to the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the size of the business of the person being charged, the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the person, and the record of previous violations.

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