A bit of context first,

We (Software company) made a mobile app for a client, but the client didn't have the budget to make a homepage for it to promote the app

Our employer said we're free to make one for him if it's in our own time, so I made one, because I like web development so it was fun to make, especially since I was free to make it however I saw fit, and also the app was for a good cause (2 birds 1 stone)

I was proud of the page I made so I added to the bottom of the page in small text

"Made with ❤ by [my name]"

So I can add it to my portfolio

When my employer saw the page his first reaction was:

"I didn't ask for this, did you do it in your own time?"

When told that it wasn't on the company's time he asked to remove the caption I added at the end.

Now, I'm thinking of saying it's an all in one take it or leave it, because I did it for free at least let me take credit for it.

But I want to hear other opinions, am I just being selfish?

PS: forgot to mention that the employer didn't ask to simply remove it, He asked to either put the company's name or remove it

  • "he asked to remove the caption I added at the end" Did he say why? If not, did you ask why?
    – sf02
    Jan 12, 2021 at 19:38
  • 2
    @sf02 I didn't ask why, but I assume he either thinks it's inappropriate or he wants to present it to the client as from the company
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 19:46
  • Did you discuss doing this with your client? Did you plan to show the site to the client yourself, as a gift from you to them? And does your boss have the same idea?
    – Erik
    Jan 12, 2021 at 19:52
  • Unfortunately opinions are off-topic on the StackExchange network. If you tell us what you are trying to achieve we might be able to describe a common way of action. Are you fine with a less invasive attribution? Or do you want to know how to negotiate All-Or-Nothing ?
    – Chris
    Jan 12, 2021 at 20:00
  • 2
    So, just to understand, your boss says you can do the website if you wish in your own time, then says they did not ask for it? Does the boss suffer from short term memory issues? Or is just being a dork?
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 12, 2021 at 22:02

5 Answers 5


Thing is, you didn't make the site for the client, you made it for your employer.

Your employer is the one providing it to the client, so if they don't like the note in the footer, you can't really argue with that. - You weren't obligated to do the work, and it's up to you if you hand it over to your employer however, now they've already seen it, it would be awkward to take it back.

But I want to hear other opinions, am I just being selfish?

In my opinion you shouldn't have made it, and your employer was completely wrong to say you could do it in your own time.

I think removing the text is the best way forward, and I would still include it in my personal portfolio.

What I would have done. I would have asked my employer for permission to contact the client and build the site for them on a freelance basis. If the employer agreed, they wouldn't have had a say over it.

  • 1
    Thanks for your input :)
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 20:52
  • Your arguments make sense
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 20:54
  • 2
    I'm going with what you said, I'll remove my name from the page instead of depriving the client from it, I wanted to see other people's opinions expecting to at least find a 50/50 but all are saying I'm not in the right on this one, thanks everyone
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 21:58

you are under no obligation to deliver free work, and they are under no obligation to receive it.

Ultimately, your actual employer makes the call.

Remember he's not the boss because he's right, he's right because he's the boss.

  • I know that, I'm asking if what id did is inappropriate or justified
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 20:43
  • I thought the client was always right ... didn't know the boss is always right too
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 21:39
  • 2
    @Sodj let the boss decide the client is right, he's the one who signs your paychecks Jan 12, 2021 at 22:18

Your employer may feel that footer doesn't look professional (and I would agree). While your intention and sentiment are good, professionalism matters in this case.

Even though you did it on your time and didn't charge the client, the work will still be associated with your company and their image/reputation because of the app that goes with the site that the company did charge for.

You don't want to lessen your company's reputation for professional work, so I would recommend going along with your employer's request.

  • I see, thanks for the input. I didn't take into account the company's image because I made it as a free dev, not one representing the company
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 20:25

Now, I'm thinking of saying it's an all in one take it or leave it, because I did it for free at least let me take credit for it.

It's not your website. This is not your decision to make.

You can ask for permission to put a note giving you credit. But you need to respect the website owner's wishes. And you need to respect your employer's directive, assuming you wish to keep your job.

  • Of course I don't get to decide, but in this case it's not the client who asked me to remove the caption, it's the boss who didn't have any hand in making it
    – Sodj
    Jan 12, 2021 at 21:17
  • as I see it, when he pays for something he gets to decide what goes in it
    – Sodj
    Jan 13, 2021 at 9:44
  • 1
    @Sodj but that is not how employment laws work in many countries, even some of the most protected western european countries have statements that if you do work in the domain of your employer it is your employer's property, no matter on which time or which resources you used.
    – KillianDS
    Jan 13, 2021 at 10:29

You could put your name as an HTML comment. If you don't mind some ongoing maintenance, you could even put "If there are any technical problems with the website, please email Your Name [email protected]", again as an HTML comment. The end product would look less professional if the attribution was visible. The client would be advertising your services because they couldn't afford the website otherwise.

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