What do I do if I receive legal documents or if I am contacted by an attorney regarding University-related business?
If you receive any legal documents (such as a subpoena, summons or complaint) contact the Office of General Counsel immediately. There could be legal penalties and University liability associated with these legal documents if deadlines are not met. Do not attempt to contact the person and/or entity who prepared or served the documents. All legal documents must be reviewed by the General Counsel before any response is made.
If you are contacted or visited by an outside attorney regarding University business matters, do not release any information, but instead refer him/her to the Office of General Counsel. The Office of General Counsel will communicate and respond to all outside attorneys on behalf of the University.
If an employee learns of facts which may lead to a claim or lawsuit being filed against the University, the employee should immediately report the matter to the Office of General Counsel.
Will the University provide me with legal representation if a lawsuit is filed against me?
If an employee is named as a defendant in a lawsuit, and the lawsuit arose out of the employee’s scope of employment, the employee must notify the Office of General Counsel immediately upon receipt of the lawsuit. If it is determined that the employee was working within his/her scope of employment, legal representation and indemnification will be provided.
The employee will not be provided representation if the lawsuit arose from personal activities or non-University employment, or if it is determined the employee was not acting within the scope of his/her employment, or was willfully negligent in the performance of his/her duties.
What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and what should I do if I receive a FOIA request?
Illinois State University is a public body subject to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which mandates public bodies to provide "full and complete information" about the actions of government to the public without violating individual privacy, disrupting the work of a public body, or furthering a commercial enterprise.
FOIA does not require a public body to create new records or to summarize existing ones. In addition, there may be some University records that are exempt from disclosure.
All requests for information pursuant to FOIA must be in writing, and directed to the Freedom of Information Act Officer. FOIA requires disclosure of requested information within five (5) working days, if an extension is not requested prior to that time. Therefore, if an employee receives such a request, it should immediately be forwarded to the Freedom of Information Act Officer.
Could my e-mail messages be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act?
E-mail sent through the University’s computer systems is not confidential and may be subject to disclosure under FOIA. E-mail is also subject to disclosure when legally mandated through a subpoena or discovery in the context of a lawsuit.
The University owns all the systems on which e-mail operates and retains the right to inspect files. All e-mail messages should be composed with the knowledge that they might be disclosed to third parties.
In addition, conducting business or exchanging communications on any personal device can render those communications or records subject to FOIA. Public records are all records, writing, communications that pertain to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or method of communication. If someone uses their personal device for work email or communications, those emails and communications can be subject to FOIA if they are deemed to be public records.
How do I access/view a copy of my personnel records?
Any employee who wishes to view their personnel files should contact the Office of Human Resources. A written request must be submitted. Access to personnel files is allowed only in the presence of an authorized Human Resources Office employee during regular office hours. Nothing may be removed from any personnel file.
After review, an employee may obtain copies of the information in the personnel file at his/her own cost. Certain specific documents (such as letters of reference and peer-review documents) may be exempt from examination.
What do I do about an employee who makes threats?
If you or anyone in your work area feels unsafe, immediately contact the University Police. If you are a supervisor and have received information indicating that an employee has been threatening to harm someone, immediately contact the University Police. In addition, you should contact the Office of Human Resources and any other appropriate administrative offices, who will determine if any type of investigation and/or disciplinary process should be undertaken.
Failure to take appropriate action could result in personal and institutional liability if some injury or other incident occurs that could have reasonably been prevented.
What are my rights as an employee or student with disabilities?
Federal and state laws and University policy require that individuals with disabilities be treated fairly and without discrimination based on their disabilities in all University programs and activities. Compliance requires care, knowledge, and case-by-case analysis. Any student or employee who requires an accommodation for a disability should be directed to the Office of Disability Concerns.
What is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulates the privacy of student records. It governs the release of records as well as a student's access to these records. Under FERPA, a student has a right to:
Any questions concerning the release of student records should be directed to the Office of General Counsel.
What do I do if I have sustained a work related injury?
An employee injured at work must immediately notify his/her supervisor of the incident, and complete certain necessary reports. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for the management of University workers’ compensation claims.
What should I do if I feel I have been harassed by virtue of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, pregnancy, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, status as a veteran, or sex (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking)?
You should contact the University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at 310 Hovey Hall, or by telephone at (309) 438-3383.
Can organizations serve alcohol on campus?
The sale, delivery, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in or on any property owned by Illinois State University is strictly prohibited, except as provided by the University policy.
What is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) includes federal privacy, security, and transaction standards to protect patient's medical records and other health information. HIPAA applies to non-student records (faculty, staff, non-Illinois State University students, summer camp participants, etc.) Student medical records, in most cases, are exempt from HIPAA and are covered under FERPA or State of Illinois law.
Patient privacy is a high priority at Illinois State University. We have written policies and procedures designed to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. Copies of those policies and procedures can be found in the policy manuals of the units within the health care component.
We take unauthorized release of our patients’ personal health information seriously. If any member of the Illinois State University health care component workforce observes or has knowledge of any unauthorized release of protected health information from Illinois State University, they must immediately report this release to the University Privacy Officer.
Failure to do so may result in discipline as an accomplice to the unauthorized release.
Why am I required to take annual ethics training?
The State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (SOEEA) requires that every state employee must complete, at least annually, an ethics training program conducted by the ethics officer of the employing agency. Any new hire must complete his/her initial training within six (6) months after commencement of his/her employment.
For information on the SOEEA and/or the required training, please contact the University Ethics Officer at (309) 438-2339.
Can I keep a "gift" I receive from a vendor or entity I do University business with?
University employees may not accept or solicit any gift of any kind (except as otherwise provided within the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act) from any person or entity who:
If you have a question or if you receive a gift from a vendor or outside entity, and are unsure what you should do with that gift, please contact the Ethics Officer at (309) 438-2339.