126-14.2. Political hirings limited.

(a) It is the policy of this State that State departments, agencies, and institutions select from the pool of the most qualified persons for State government employment based upon job-related qualifications of applicants for employment using fair and valid selection criteria.

(b) All State departments, agencies, and institutions shall select from the pool of the most qualified persons for State government employment without regard to political affiliation or political influence. For the purposes of this section, "qualified persons" shall mean each of the State employees or applicants for initial State employment who:

(1) Have timely applied for a position in State government;

(2) Have the essential qualifications for that position; and

(3) Are determined to be substantially more qualified as compared to other applicants for the position, after applying fair and valid job selection criteria, in accordance with G.S. 126-5(e), G.S. 126-7.1, Articles 6 and 13 of this Chapter, and State personnel policies approved by the State Human Resources Commission.

(c) It is a violation of this section if:

(1) The complaining State employee or applicant for initial State employment timely applied for the State government position in question;

(2) The complaining State employee or applicant for initial State employment was not hired into the position;

(3) The complaining State employee or applicant for initial State employment was among the most qualified persons applying for the position as defined in this Chapter;

(4) The successful applicant for the position was not among the most qualified persons applying for the position; and

(5) The hiring decision was based upon political affiliation or political influence.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not apply to positions exempt from this Chapter, except that this section does apply to exempt managerial positions as defined by G.S. 126-5(b)(2). (1997-520, s. 1; 2013-382, s. 9.1(c); 2014-115, s. 55.3(b); 2015-260, s. 5.3; 2017-57, s. 35.18.)