KneadToKnow - I do have a wife, cat, and dog and want to protect them from our state bird here in California, the lawyer, as much as possible, typically by keeping my head down when mayhem ensues.
Frisco - I’m not sure why you feel a company can’t make one of the terms of your hiring an agreement you will not talk to the press about company related matters. That seems reasonable to me. While pharma and defense are both regulated in the FDA/national security sense, in both cases where I have been in a situation regarding reporters looking for a story, it had to do with an acquisition of the company. In the case of the former CEO of the defense company, had he sold us to another private company, I don’t know how that would have played out since the other company was not employee owned, and our company was being well undervalued in our opinion. That CEO was very old and was interested in getting out while he could to the detriment of his employees, which is dumb because we collectively owned more than 50% of the company. His solution was to try to get a number of the older employees with lots of shares to vote their shares with him. There was a rumored bonus cash payout to them after words for their votes when the deal went through to get greater than 50% control. That didn’t work, and a number of employees (I was actually not one of them) leaked this to the local press to let everyone know what was going on. All such conversations were ‘off the record’ because talking to the press was a violation of their employee agreement and could have been a offense that got you fired, especially if the CEO had directed HR to do so. Perhaps that could be viewed as a wrongful termination issue, but who wants that headache? Clearly it was easier to sour the deal by letting the outside world know what was going on anonymously while still getting the message out there “hey, this little defense company is for sale, and is obviously worth buying because this other much larger company intends to buy them!” Sure enough, two years later, we were acquired by a large public company at a fair price and everyone was happy with that.