I was contacted by someone offering me paid work. Call him Bob. Bob has a sole proprietorship, call it X. His only client who he works full time for as a contractor is Y. Y gave him a budget to hire someone to help with his work load. That someone is me. In the contract I signed with Bob, it refereed to me as a consultant, "Bob doing business as X" as Agent and Y as Client.
On my last day Bob wanted to have an exit interview with me. He "reminded" me of my continuing obligations to confidentiality, which included not saying I worked for Y (the/his client). First off, I never recall any discussion of the client's name being confidential and upon double checking my contract, it's not (not that I hired a lawyer to review it). Y is a large company and I thought it would be better to put it's name on LinkedIn and my resumes, instead of X which no one's heard of.* I realize this isn't a particularly strong reason so I removed the references to Y upon request.
My questions are
- Is it normal or common for a client's name to be considered confidential? Does it make a difference if you're working for them directly, through a third-party or if you got the job through an agent/agency? This is all assuming it was never expressly agreed on that the client's name was confidential e.g. in a contract. Though Bob was my de-facto "boss" I worked closely with other members of the team who were employees of Y and other people often told me what to do/how to do it. Is this strange? If someone's a subcontractor, wouldn't the client only talk to the contractor and the contractor would have complete management over the subcontractor?
- Assuming confidentiality isn't an issue, do people usually say the name of who they did work for, or the agent/agency who connected them with the work? Does it depend on the level of involvement the agent/agency has?
- Why would Bob or Y care? Would it be professional for me to ask Bob?
*LinkedIn has so many people on it claiming to be a contractor for Y, it can't possibly be a corporate policy not to do this.