Every once in a while I come across a job posting on an online board that says "company confidential", in which the name of the company is not listed. I imagine that at least in some of those instances the company chooses to remain anonymous because they're *discreetly* beginning the process of replacing someone who will be let go.
I really don't have a problem with that, as long as it is done with as much discretion as is practicable. I see no benefit in intentionally causing distress or humiliation to someone who is going to be fired, no matter how much they need to be. It certainly won't help that employee any, and I don't think it will improve the company's bottom line to intentionally hurt anyone, although I know of some cases where the employee found out for one reason or another. It wasn't pleasant for the employee or the employers.
Now, I am currently engaged in a job search. I have applied to positions where the company listed the position as company confidential. It could be because someone is being let go, or maybe the company just doesn't want to allow competitors to guess about their staffing levels or whom they're recruiting.
In the past, I have asked during interviews why the position is available. It was interesting to note how the hiring manager answered the question. Most of the time, the answer is that it is either a new position created due to business need, or in other cases it was because the incumbent was leaving to raise a family, or they found another job, or they were relocating out of the area, or they had been promoted.
Only once did the manager come out and say that that person was going to be fired - and then they explained the reason was because that person was incompetent. I was actually offered the position. I declined - I didn't give the real reason, but the truth is it left a bad taste in my mouth that they would actually badmouth an employee (doesn't matter to me that they may have actually done a terrible job. I don't work there. How am I to know that's true? And even if it is, I think that's a horrible thing to do to someone, no matter how true it may be. It just sounds mean to me.). I wondered how they would treat me as an employee? So I declined the offer, saying something about not being sure it was a good fit for my core skills set or whatever.
I think it's a bad idea for a business to speak unkindly about a current or former employee (or behave indiscreetly about replacing them, no matter how legitimate the need for the reasons I explained above), just as I think it's a bad idea for a job applicant to treat their former employer the same way - never, ever say anything negative about a former employer or employee, no matter how justified. It could come back to haunt you.
That's just my personal take on it.