In a bit a predicament. I recently have received media requests about some upcoming research I plan to publish. According to my company's employee handbook, I have to keep them in the loop with all external press - regardless of whether or not the research was conducted for the company or outside of the company hours. In this case, my research was completed before I joined the company, but the policy still applies.
Starting with their reasonable requests, I call them reasonable not because I agree with them, but because they are documented in my employee handbook.
- They want to be on call on the press briefing.
- They want to be looped in all communication with the press.
- They want to act as the "gatekeepers" during the discussions with the press.
This was acceptable, because I agreed to the employee handbook and this was outlined. Then out of the blue, they pulled some "policies" that every employee is expected to follow, except it's documented nowhere and in no agreement.
- They want to record the call with the press.
- They are forcing me to take a press preparatory course (although I have dealt with the press before).
- They want to review my research (This is what really set me off). Other employees are not necessarily required to do this.
When I questioned where these policies were documented, I was met with a friendly "if you do not comply with policy, you may be terminated" email from the head of PR. Unfortunately I have obligations that don't allow me to leave my job at this time, but I feel like this is an abhorrent example of ethics gone wrong.
I'm an at-will employee meaning they can fire me for anything or no reason at all. I contacted HR about their absurd requests and they weren't able to give me any reasonable options forward. I don't know what to do, but I feel like there must be something I can do. I don't want to get fired, but my company sure as hell doesn't have a right to my intellectual property (partially covered by state law - Minnesota).
What should I do?