FAQs

General

Q: Whom does the Office of General Counsel (OGC) represent?

A: The OGC provides legal advice and representation to the various departments, divisions, and components of Emory University and Emory Healthcare. The OGC advises trustees, officers, faculty, physicians, and staff in their official capacities on various issues that impact Emory University and Emory Healthcare. 

Q: Does the OGC provide personal legal advice?

A: No. The OGC provides legal advice and representation related to Emory University and Emory Healthcare business only and does not provide personal legal advice and representation. Please refer to the Legal Links page for organizations that may be able to assist you in obtaining an attorney or other legal assistance for personal matters.

Q: What type of legal services does the OGC provide?

A: The OGC provides a full range of legal services to Emory University and Emory Healthcare. The OGC works closely with our colleagues and clients to develop and execute well-crafted legal strategies across a wide range of areas, including academic, health care, employment, intellectual property, corporate, real estate, tax, litigation, and compliance. Please see the Practice Areas page for a list of the OGC attorneys and their respective practice areas.

Q: Can the OGC notarize documents?

A: Yes. The OGC currently has three staff members who are notaries and can notarize documents for Emory-related business. We recommend that you call the OGC first to ensure that one of the staff members will be available to notarize your document(s) when you arrive.

Benefits

Q: To whom do I send for review a draft of a domestic relations order or medical child support order that is intended to constitute a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) or qualified medical child support order (QMCSO)?

A: Please contact your benefits specialist in, or the benefits department of, Human Resources. Participants are encouraged to provide Emory with a draft of any order that is intended to constitute a QDRO or a QMCSO.

Business Issues

Q: What is Emory University's policy on document retention?

A: Please review Emory's policy on document retention. If you have additional questions, please contact the OGC. 

Q: What is Emory University's signature policy?

A: Please review Emory's Signature Authority and Contracting Policy. If you have additional questions, please contact the OGC. 

Q: What is the legal status of Emory University, Emory University Hospital, and Emory Midtown Hospital?

A: Emory University is a Georgia nonprofit corporation and is a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Emory University Hospital and Emory Midtown Hospital are divisions of Emory University and are not separate legal entities. 

Q: What is the legal status of The Emory Clinic?

A: The Emory Clinic is a Georgia nonprofit corporation and is a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Q: What is the legal status of Wesley Woods Center of Emory University, Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Wesley Woods Towers, and Budd Terrace?

A: Wesley Woods Center of Emory University is a Georgia nonprofit corporation and is a tax-exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, Wesley Woods Towers, and Budd Terrace are divisions of Wesley Woods Center of Emory University and are not separate legal entities.

Compliance

Q: To whom should I report fraudulent or illegal activity?

A: You may report an issue anonymously by calling the Emory Trust Line at 888.550.8850. You also may report an issue directly to your manager or any senior administrator. In addition, you may call the Emory Internal Audit Division (404.727.6146) or the Emory Healthcare Compliance Office (404.778.2757), as appropriate.

Employment/Human Resources

Q: Whom do I call to report discrimination or harassment? What do I do if my employee complains of discrimination or harassment?

A: Harassment and discrimination issues may be reported to any supervisor, the appropriate Human Resources department (of Emory University or Emory Healthcare), and the Office of Equal Opportunity programs. Emory University employees also may refer to the Emory University Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy. 

Q: What do I do if I receive a request for a reference on a former employee?

A: All requests for references of former employees should be forwarded to the appropriate Human Resources department for handling. 

Q: What do I do if I need to discipline or terminate an employee?

A: Please contact your assigned Human Resources department representative for assistance. 

Q: What do I do if an employee wants to see a copy of his or her employment file?

A: Please contact your assigned Human Resources department representative to discuss. Generally, current employees are allowed to sit and review their file with their manager/supervisor at a mutually convenient time.

Health Care

Q: What is an advanced directive?

A: Advance directives are documents written in advance of a serious illness or injury that state a person's wishes about medical treatment or designates someone to make health care choices on that person's behalf, if he or she becomes unable to make decisions. The Emory Hospitals have extensive policies concerning the requirements and the execution of advanced directives. The policies are found on the Emory Healthcare intranet page and in the Lotus Notes database. 

Q: What do I do if a patient wants to execute an advanced directive?

A: Advanced directives must be executed by the patient while the patient is still able to communicate his or her wishes. Advance directives packets are available on the nursing units, in the Nursing Administration office, and in the Pastoral Care Services Office of the Emory Hospitals. You also may refer the patient (or the patient's family) to Pastoral Care Services Office or the Social Services Department for assistance with the advanced directives packet.

Intellectual Property

Q: How do I get permission to use the Emory name and logo?

A: Please contact Stanis Kodman, Emory University's brand manager. 

Q: I know of a company called Emory xxxx that does not appear to be affiliated with Emory University. Is there someone I should notify?

A: Please contact the OGC. 

Q: May I publish photographs taken of Emory?

A: No. Emory allows any visitors to take photographs for their personal use. Emory does not authorize faculty, staff, students, or any third party to take photographs for publication without prior approval from David McClurkin—the business development manager of Commmunications and Marketing—consulting, as necessary, with the OGC. 

Q: When can I use the ©, ® and ™ symbols?

A: The © symbol may be used whenever an original work of authorship has been fixed in a tangible form, e.g., a book or article has been written. Use of the © symbol does not require a federal copyright registration, although a registration is required to maintain a lawsuit for copyright infringement. The ® symbol may be used only when a federal trademark registration has been obtained. The ™ symbol may be used without a registration. It should only be used when the user believes, in good faith, that trademark rights may legitimately be asserted. 

Q: What do I do if I am contacted by a company and am accused of patent infringement or if someone suggests that I must take an intellectual property license from the company to continue my activities?

A: Please first investigate the facts of the claim to the best of your ability in light of your scientific background. After this investigation, please contact the OGC.

Litigation

Q: What should I do if I receive a Notice of Garnishment?

A: If a department receives a Summons of Garnishment from a court, all documentation should be forwarded to the Payroll Department. Emory considers the acceptance and settlement of debts to be a mark of personal financial responsibility and, therefore, expects each employee to prevent a Summons of Garnishment and other legal attachments to salary, such as child support, from being served on Emory. For this purpose, a garnishment is an order issued by a court attaching an employee's earnings to satisfy a debt incurred by the employee. Emory is required by state law to accept and process garnishments served by officials of the court. Copies should not be maintained in departmental files as Emory considers this information to be personal and confidential. 

Q: What do I do if a lawyer calls me and wants to talk about a case or give a deposition? 

A: Unless you have received prior approval, if Emory University, Emory Healthcare, or any of the Emory Healthcare facilities is a party or parties in the case, you should notify the Office of Risk and Insurance Services immediately. All other requests from or communications with attorneys, legal representatives, or outside agencies should be reported to the Office of Risk and Insurance Services, the OGC, or Human Resources for appropriate handling. In no event should any written or verbal reply be made to such requesting parties on behalf of any department without prior consultation with the OGC and Human Resources. 

Q: Who may accept service of process for Emory University, Emory Healthcare, or The Emory Clinic—i.e., what do I do if a sheriff arrives at my office and asks me to accept legal papers on behalf of Emory?

A: The only authorized agents to accept service of legal process (such as a summons and complaint) for Emory University, Emory Healthcare, or The Emory Clinic are in the OGC. Accordingly, please direct the sheriff (or other process server) to the OGC. No one else should accept service on behalf Emory University, Emory Healthcare, or The Emory Clinic.

If you are being named individually in a lawsuit as a defendant or respondent, you can accept service on your own behalf. If the lawsuit involves Emory University, Emory Healthcare, or The Emory Clinic in any way—even if they were not named as defendants or respondents or if you were not served on their behalf—please send a copy of the complaint and summons to the OGC immediately. 

Q: May I retain outside counsel for an Emory University or Emory Healthcare business matter?

A: No. With few limited exceptions, only the OGC is authorized to retain counsel on behalf of Emory University or Emory Healthcare. 

Q: What do I do if I have been sued?

A: If you have been sued because of your work at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, or any Emory Healthcare facility, you should immediately contact the Office of Risk and Insurance Services or the OGC.

If you have been sued for nonwork-related matters, Emory cannot represent you or recommend a specific attorney, but please see the Legal Resources for organizations that may assist you in obtaining legal advice or assistance. 

Q: What do I do if I have received a subpoena to turn over documents (subpoena duces tecum) relating to Emory University or Emory Healthcare business?

A: Except for subpoenas handled regularly by Human Resources, Payroll, and the Medical Records Departments (which should be referred directly to those departments), you should not turn over documents relating to the Emory University or Emory Healthcare without consulting first with the OGC. You should, however, ensure that no documents described in the subpoena are destroyed and are kept for possible production. 

Q: What do I do if I have been subpoenaed as a witness in connection with activities at Emory University or Emory Healthcare?

A: If you have been subpoenaed as a witness in connection with activities at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, or any Emory Healthcare facility, please contact the OGC.

Political Contributions

Q: What should I do if my department/division wants to contribute to a political campaign?

A: Please review the OGC advisory on contributions to political campaigns, as well as the IRS Fact Sheet released in February 2006, titled "Election Year Activities and the Prohibition on Political Campaign Intervention for Section 501(c)(3) Organizations." If you have additional questions, please contact the OGC.

Risk & Insurance

Q: Whom should I call if there is an injury in my office?

A: For life-threatening emergencies, call 911. All injuries should be reported to the Office of Risk and Insurance Services. 

Q: Whom should I call for questions regarding insurance coverage?

A: Questions regarding insurance coverage should be directed to the director of insurance and loss-control programs within the Office of Risk and Insurance Services. You also should direct requests for verification of coverage or requests for claims history information to the Office of Risk and Insurance Services.

Student Issues

Q: What rules govern the privacy of student records?

A: The privacy of student records is governed by the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the US Department of Education. Please review Emory's policy concerning FERPA. If you have additional questions, please contact the OGC.