One of the people who have worked for me (not directly but matrix style) is on a "list" (economy in the UK is not so healthy). Let’s call him John. John is a contractor. John does not know yet - but I do and so does John's manager. The line management / management style here is such he will not be told directly. HR will be told, who will tell John's agency, who will then his agent, who will then tell John. We've been instructed under no circumstances to tell John - apparently the "process" is to let him know indirectly.
I don't think this is humane. I've worked with John for several months. He has added value to my project. He adds value to the team and projects he is on now.
Both John's manager and I share the same line manager. Both John’s manager and I have separately approached our line manager and asked if we should let John know at the appropriate time. The answer is always a flat out “no”. My line manager does not have to deal with John when John finds out. John will come to me or his line manager and ask what is going on, why didn’t we tell him, etc? This is not new – this has happened previously, only previously I didn’t have the luxury of reaching out for help.
Should I tell John? Do you have any other options or ideas?