Has a regulator contacted you?

The University of Michigan promotes compliance with laws, regulations, standards and other obligations that apply to its activities, and is prepared at all times for announced and unannounced reviews, inspections or other interactions with government officials, law enforcement agencies, regulators, accreditation agencies and others who play a role in compliance oversight.

What to do if a regulator or government official approaches you

If you are in the Health System, see the UMHS Compliance page Is a Surveyor or Regulator here?

If an agent approaches you to ask some questions, this may indicate that they have received a report or found a potential concern – and how you respond could lead to potential liability down the track. U-M is eager to cooperate with agency requests and reviews, but it may be advisable to involve a legal advisor in the process, to ensure that you and the University are both responding fully and being treated reasonably. Here are some suggestions for how to handle the inquiry:

  1. Ask the regulator or government agent for more information before agreeing to talk.
    For example, you could ask:
    – Do you have a particular concern you want to discuss?
    – Is this related in some way to a report / incident / compliance concern?
    If the agent won’t give you additional information, that suggests that you should definitely talk to an attorney before answering their questions.
    If the agent tells you that it DOES relate to a report / incident / compliance concern, tell them that you would like to have an attorney present during the questioning, or that you would like them to explain the situation to your attorney before questioning you. At the very least, you should talk about the case yourself with an attorney, before you talk further with the agent.
  2. Call an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel to advise them that you have been approached by an agency, and talk through your options in how to respond. If you don’t already have a relationship with a particular attorney in the Office, see this list of attorney practice areas to find an attorney who is best suited to your query.
  3. If the query or agency is related to research (such as human or animal subjects research), call the Office of the Vice President of Research to seek further assistance.
  4. If the query or agency is related to health care or the U-M Health System, see the UMHS Compliance Office page Is a Surveyor or Regulator here?, or contact the Health System Legal Office.
  5. If you are not sure who to speak to, or even whether a query you have received is worth worrying about, you may discuss it with the Compliance Coordinator, who can offer guidance as to the most appropriate person to speak to about the issue.

For those who have working relationships with regulators

Sometimes U-M employees have working relationships with people from regulatory agencies, with whom they have regular contact – in which case, it may be quite normal for them to contact you, without it raising compliance concerns or legal issues. However, if your agency contact approaches you with a question that is clearly investigative in nature, or compliance related, it would pay to think about the same factors as you would if an unknown agent approached you. In other words, if the nature of your contact changes from collaborative and advisory to investigative, then you may need to be a little more cautious in your dealings, to protect yourself and U-M.


Established 3/4/2011, last reviewed 3/7/17 – Contact us if you believe any information is incorrect or outdated