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Stanford University Ethics and Compliance Helpline FAQs


What is the Stanford University Ethics & Compliance Helpline?

Stanford’s Ethics and Compliance Helpline (“Helpline”) is a resource for community members to ask questions or report concerns about possible unethical behavior and violations of policies, regulations or laws.

Please note that the Helpline is not a 24-Hour or Emergency Service.  If you believe there is an immediate threat to life or property, please contact 911.  We typically respond to your concern within 24-48 business hours.

How do I contact the Ethics Helpline?

The Helpline can be reached by:

  1. Online at (can be anonymous) 
  2. Emailing
  3. Calling (650) 721-2667

Who can make a report to the Ethics and Compliance helpline?

Anybody can reach out to the Helpline, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, vendors and community members.

What type of questions or concerns should I direct to the Ethics and Compliance Office?

The Helpline helps address questions or concerns about compliance with policies and laws.  It is also a way to report concerns about unethical behavior or a possible violation of law or University policy, including Stanford’s Code of Conduct.  If you are unsure whether the Helpline is the right avenue to address your concern, just reach out to us.  We are happy to provide consultation and help determine how to proceed.

What type of information is necessary to review a submission?

It is important to include as much information as possible when submitting a concern to the helpline. We will need to know who is involved, what happened, and where and when the concerning behavior took place. Without all of this information, it may be difficult to investigate the matter. Details are very helpful in providing additional context for our review.

What happens when I contact the Ethics and Compliance helpline to report a concern? 

Every concern is taken seriously. We evaluate each concern carefully and, if warranted, we refer the concern to an investigator. There are many investigators throughout Stanford.  The Ethics and Compliance Office, the SHARE Title IX Office, the Research Compliance Office, and University Human Resources, are examples of Stanford departments with investigative functions.

The applicable investigative unit will conduct an inquiry or if necessary, a full investigation. The Office of Ethics and Compliance will track the investigation until completion.

Upon completion of an inquiry or investigation, a conclusion will be reached about whether a violation occurred. If the inquiry or investigation reveals that a violation did occur, Stanford will take appropriate corrective action.

Will I find out what happens with the concern I report?

The Office of Ethics and Compliance will notify you when the matter has concluded, but we will not be able to tell you the outcome of the inquiry or investigation.

What is the difference between an Inquiry and an Investigation?

An Inquiry is a review of available information to determine if a formal investigation is necessary or warranted. 

An Investigation is a formal examination and evaluation of relevant facts to determine whether a violation occurred.  Corrective action, following a finding of a violation, may include separation from the University (termination), or written warnings.

If I have a concern, may I report it to my manager or Human Resources rather than the Helpline?

Stanford strives to promote a culture of integrity and trust.  You should feel empowered to raise concerns to your supervisor, your local Human Resources representative or to University Human Resources—Employee & Labor Relations.  The Helpline is an additional resource that includes the option of raising concerns anonymously. 

Why should I file a report or ask a question?

Everyone plays a role in building a culture of integrity and trust at Stanford. You can do your part by raising awareness of any concerns you may have.

Will my report remain confidential?

The University will make every attempt to safeguard the confidentiality of any report consistent with legal responsibilities and our need to review and investigate.  Please note that, investigating the circumstances reported may reveal the identity of the person making the report. However, Stanford has a policy that prohibits retaliation against persons who raise concerns in good faith.

Can I make an anonymous report?

Yes, you can make an anonymous report. The University will not attempt to identify you. If you choose to remain anonymous, please provide as much detail and context as possible, as anonymous concerns can be difficult to fully investigate. If possible, include an anonymized method of contact, as we often need more information about what happened or who was involved.  If we have no way to follow up with questions about the allegation, it may be difficult to move forward with an inquiry or investigation. 

I am unsure about whether to make a report. Is there someone I can talk to confidentially?

If you are unsure whether the Helpline is the right avenue to address your concern, just reach out to us.  We are happy to provide consultation and determine how best to proceed.

You can also reach out to the Ombudsperson for a confidential consultation.  The Ombudsperson is a confidential resource with whom you can talk to about the various ways to address your concern.  The Ombudsperson can help you make a decision about how you want to proceed.

Office of the Ombuds – Stanford University
Brenda Berlin
(650) 497-1542

Office of the Ombuds – Stanford University School of Medicine
James Laflin
(650) 498-5744

Should I be worried about retaliation?

Stanford policy prohibits retaliation against individuals who make a report in good faith.  If you feel that you were or are being retaliated against because of a good faith report, you should contact our office.  We will follow up on your concerns and address them as we would any other alleged violation.

Concerns About Stanford Hospital and Clinics or Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Questions about or concerns pertaining to compliance and privacy issues at Stanford Hospital and Clinics or Lucile Packard Children's Hospital should be communicated directly to the Hospitals' compliance program: