General licensing non-discrimination laws prevent professional licensing boards from denying applicants with certain criminal records from licensure. In 2013, North Carolina enacted these non-discrimination laws. The scope of the laws were very limited. The laws did not extend to state agencies and did not allow for an appeal if an applicant was denied. In September of 2019, things have changed again for potential licensees. The following paragraph addresses these changes.
The law enacted this year that opened the door for many professional license applicants is HB770. The bill amends the previous NCGS 93B-8.1. It prohibits an occupational licensing board from denying a licensing applicant a license just based on the applicant’s criminal history. This does not mean that everyone with a criminal history has to be given a professional license. What this means is that if an applicant’s criminal history involves a conviction “directly related to the duties and responsibilities for the licensed occupation or the conviction is for a crime that is violent or sexual in nature” then an occupational licensing board can deny an applicant a license.
A board is also prohibited from denying a license to an applicant strictly because they have a conviction for a crime of mortal turpitude. The 2019 amended version of NCGS 93B-8.1 extends to state agency licensing boards, unlike the 2013 version. Below we will get into another important aspect of the amended statute, an appeals process.
NCGS 93B-8.1(b)(5) states that each occupational licensing board must have an appeal process available to a rejected license applicant. A board has the option to require an applicant to submit a criminal history record. Before a board can deny an applicant a license in part because of a criminal record they must take one more step. They must give an applicant 30 days to provide the board with any documentation showing rehabilitation or mitigation.
If you or someone you know has been denied a professional license contact our office here to learn more about your rights. For more on this topic please visit our friends over at the CC Resource center.