Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Harassment and bullying during interview with client

Ace Contributor
Riccardo M Member Since: Jun 24, 2018
1 of 7


Today I reported bullying and abusive behavior from a potential employer during the interview I had with him for a job. We started chatting on Skype as he requested. When I asked him specific questions to the work he said that he was upset because he couldn't make himself clear enough.     


I immediately sensed that something wasn't right and maybe I wasn't the right fit for him. I answered pretty straight forward that if "you get upset because I am asking questions that are important for me to complete a job, I am sorry I can not work with you, good luck".


At that point, he started insulting me calling me with different names saying that I have a mental disability and making other discriminatory remarks.


When he started insulting me, I decided to block Skype contact.  I was ok, but I was upset and worry for other designers, especially young professionals that right now might be in the interview process with him and it could be traumatic for them. In fact, the user is still active and interviewing. 


I decided to continue the conversation in Upwork chat message reasserting myself saying "there's no need to insult, as I am a professional and I am free to decide if I want to work with a client or not after reviewing the conversation".


I just wanted to see if he was up for more abusive language but this time on Upwork, with the hope to get him banned. He insulted me again. The problem is that is still active, so I wonder if there's anything I can do other then reporting all abusive language to Upwork customer care.  


I really feel he should pay for his behavior.


Thanks in advance for support

Riccardo M


Community Guru
Melanie H Member Since: Nov 2, 2017
2 of 7

This is weird because I had someone approach me yesterday to interview, and while we never made it to Skype, his written description was all over the map. So I asked him a few questions for clarification and he acted like I'd aked him to kindly cut off his left arm and mail it to me.


He kept saying he didn't know how long the project would take and going back and forth on whether he wanted "a trial" smaller project or not. I told him my minimum would be my hourly rate and he snapped about how if I managed to plough through the job in one hour (or something like that, can't remember the exact wording) then I was doing something wrong (huh...?) and blah blah. Just angry and sort of weird stuff out of nowhere. It's not like I was pumping him for information, I was simply asking for clarification.


I wonder if we got the same guy, LOL.


I politely declined at that point, agreeing that perhaps it was not a good fit after all. I was VERY polite. When I checked another message, his showed up right below it and I saw he had deleted every one of his messages to me.


It's a weird world sometimes.


If your client iterally swore at you and called you names you can report him. Not to be cynical, but probably not much will happen to him from there. He won't "pay for" his behavior in any meaningful way, most likely. He's a bit of a jerk, and he'll keep being a bit of a jerk throughout his career, and so the world turns.


Report if you want, nobody should just insult another person without thinking twice, but otherwise move on, there's a great gig out there waiting for you.

Ace Contributor
Riccardo M Member Since: Jun 24, 2018
3 of 7

Hi Melanie, 

Thanks, I appreciate your comments.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 7

Riccardo M wrote:



I decided to continue the conversation in Upwork chat message reasserting myself

Why? At the first rude word I'd have said, "Thank you for your time, this isn't the right project for me, I wish you the best of luck" and then blocked the client on Skype, withdrawn the active candidacy, blocked him on Upwork messages and moved the hell on already.


What is the point of arguing with losers? It just drops you down to their level.


Ace Contributor
Riccardo M Member Since: Jun 24, 2018
5 of 7

Hi Petra,


I don't feel i argued with him - but when I politely asserted myself trying to get clear answers around the project he became defensive. Then when I said I didn't feel to work with him he made insulting, racist and homophobic comments. I moved it from Skype as I wanted Upwork to be aware.


At the end of the day, I agree with you. From a personal perspective, it wasn't good for me to bring this onto Upwork. However, I feel that bullying and harassment need to be addressed - and this is why I did this. I didn't want somebody else, who is maybe younger or less experienced to have this kind of experience.


Thanks for your feedback, and I hope this explains why I moved the discussion onto Upwork more clearly.



Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 7

bro you're kinda at fault. You baited him instead of just leaving him alone. If that's your thing and you wanted to argue, whatever but baiting and then reporting is pretty lame.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 7

I very much appreciate Riccardo's account of what happened. He's clearly a quality freelancer. This is a worthwhile discussion.


In no way do I say this as an insult, but as an observation:


The original poster was acting more like a pastor than a mercenary.

I think that is usually a good thing.


But in a situation like this, on Upwork, I probably would have been more mercenary-like:


Here's the set-up: The client won't discuss details that I need to do my job effectively. I tell him that I won't be able to work with him. He mouths off.


- Mercenary: There's no money to be made here. "Thank you. Good bye."

- Pastor: I need to protect others from this evildoer, and perhaps teach him a lesson.


I'm not saying either approach is wrong. But the mercenary didn't spend his time in pastoral duties that don't lead to revenue. The mercenary also didn't do anything to irritate the evil-doer. Perhaps the evil-doer was having a really off-day and will come back next time and behave himself.


Having said all that, I want to be clear that I think Upwork freelancers SHOULD report clients who violate Upwork ToS, and that includes clients who are abusive. But that doesn't necessarily require continued interaction with them.

View solution in original post