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I'm working for company A. Company A is outsourcing me to company B, and company B is outsourcing me to the company C, where I work on a project for a client.

I'm leaving the company A soon, and my boss does not want me to talk about this in company C. Instead, he wants me to continue working as usual without mentioning anything, and then he will somehow announce (or company B will) to company C that I'm on a sudden and long sick leave and someone else will continue my work.

However, everyone in C will know that I've just changed jobs, because I want to update my public LinkedIn profile when I leave A. This is a very niche field I'm working in, so I will certainly work with some of the people in company C again in the future. It's not a big team, but I'd like to say a proper goodbye to the people I've been working with, which is a professional behavior for me.

If I leave without a word, and they will see that I've changed jobs, and they are told that I'm sick, this could be suspicious for some people. On the other hand, I'm still employed at company A and I don't want to part on bad terms with them by doing exactly what my boss tells me not to do.

What should I do to be professional and not risk my reputation? Maybe I should talk to my boss and try to convince him that people at C will learn that I left anyway?

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    Company A definitely doesn't have the right to ask you to lie, and it's definitely unprofessional to do so! – Bee Oct 10 at 16:11
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    Well, the thing is, they don't ask me to lie, they ask me to say exactly nothing, and they will do the lying. So maybe it's the company that's risking their reputation? – AbstractObject Oct 10 at 16:13
  • @AbstractObject - You should respect the wishes of your employer, not to disclose you are leaving the comany, what you do once you have left the company is entirely up to you. – Donald Oct 10 at 21:15
  • I agree with Donald here, if they don't want to tell a client you are leaving, then they can ask you not to mention it. They will be risking their reputation if they lie about where you are though and once you're gone, there is no reason for you to continue to go out your way to hide it – Bee Oct 10 at 21:38
  • Sorry but thats just terrible advice Donald. It doesn't matter what his company wishes, nobody should tarnish their own reputation to preserve the reputation of their employer. This company is saying "let us make you look terrible so we don't look bad." Agreeing to that is absolute idiocy. – DetectivePikachu Oct 22 at 17:49
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Maybe I should talk to my boss and try to convince him that people at C will learn that I left anyway?

I think that is your best strategy. I suggest pointing out to your Company A boss that Company C people are going to see the update to your LinkedIn profile after you leave A. Claiming you are on sick leave is going to look really silly when your LinkedIn profile says you are working for Company X. Company C people are going to suspect they are being lied to, which would make them less likely to want to continue working with A and B.

It would look much better for A and B to treat your departure as a routine, manageable matter with no drama required. They should be saying something like "AbstractObject is leaving on date XYZZY. Here is ConcreteStructure who will be handling AbstractObject's work in the future."

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Short answer: Don't lie.

Longer answer:

Your professional reputation has value

If you participate in this fraud, and yes, it is fraud, by "Company A", you will be in the very least tarnishing yourself as being a liar, untrustworthy, and unprofessional.

You could expose yourself to legal troubles

IANAL and you should check with one as depending on the contractual arrangements, you may actually be exposing yourself to civil liability, possibly even criminal liability if lying about your status allows them to manipulate a contract, or circumvent some employment law. Again, I'm not a lawyer. To be certain, consult with a lawyer who focuses on employment law.

BE HONEST

Any hit you may take in the short term from company A will be bragging rights on your next interviews, where you can give a quick story about how honest you are.

A risk-taking honest employee is one that honest employers will take a risk on.

Plus, you'll sleep better at night.

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    Love the fact your contributing solid answers sir!! – Mister Positive Oct 10 at 16:45
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I was in a similar situation once - I was employed by a parent company to work at a client company, and when I resigned my manager asked to say nothing, so the company I was body-shopped out to would stay happy. I did what my employer asked.

I stayed in contact with some of my ex colleagues from the client company, and when they found out that I didn't work for the parent company anymore they understood completely what had happened.

The result for me was that I kept a great relationship with my former managers (one of whom employed me again later at a different company), and a great relationship with the people at the company I was contracted out to.

Don't lie, and don't start a fight that you don't need to have.

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