sorry in advance for the long explanation, but I really need someone's help here.
I have been translating for this employer for about 6 months now and I almost never contacted them because there were no issues: last month, though, I didn't receive payments on the usual dates, so I sent some messages to my contact person. After a few days, since I received no reply, I turned to the person who hired me and we had a conversation on Skype: she said she would send an e-mail to my contact person to push her to reply. I thanked her and added "Sorry for bothering you, I know this is not your competence but I had no other contacts: I will write to the right people in the future". I guess she can't read English very well, because she became angry and started saying that I was stressing her and that she "warned me" that if I wrote another word she would block me. I replied that I was just thanking her, but she blocked me on Skype. After one hour I received an Upwork notification: my manual time had been revoked. Today I received another notification: my working hours limit has been reduced from 40 hours to 15, without prior notice and without any explanation. Needless to say that both operations have been carried out by the same person I had talked to on Skype.
How do I defend myself from such an unprofessional and criminal behaviour?
Thanks to you all in advance for your support!
Erika, considering that hourly contracts are billed and charged automatically, what do you mean you weren't paid as normal? Hourly contracts are billed to the client on Mondy after the work week has ended, and clear for withdrawal on Wednesday the following week. Are you saying that the money did not clear into your Upwork account at the usual days? Or are you saying that you have automatical withdrawal set upand the money did not arrive in your bank account on the expected days? (If it is the latter that has nothing at all to do with the client, it is due to the banks and their processing times)
The thing is: You are not an employee. You are a freelancer and the client can reduce or increase your hours or end your contract at any time with no notice.
There is certainly nothing "criminal" about it...
Your profile is set to private so I can't even take an educated guess (I have a working theory but can't confirm it without)
A client-contractor contract on Upwork is an at-will relationship on both sides.
If I, as a contractor, do something that annoys my client, whether it was because I was impatient, or because I did not fully understand how Upwork functions... Even if my intentions are pure... Then my contractor has every right to close my contract or cut the number of hours I am allowed to work during a given week.
My client owes me no explanation for doing so. An explanation and warning may well be a courteous gesture. But there is certainly no legal or contractual obligation to provide such. And if my client is not particularly adept at using the English language? Then I should have even lower expectations with regards to the level of communication I can expect from them.
Didn't take her pills is my theory. lol
I'm wondering if she took "not your competence" to mean "incompetent."
It might be that they were planning to cut your contract hours for a while, and this was just an excuse to do it.
Like Jennifer and Sandra I wondered if the "competence" thing triggered it
It was an unusual way of saying it, and could easily have been interpreted as "sorry, I now realise you're incompetent!"
What's happened to you is really unfortunate and is a classic case of 'lost in translation'....When I read your reply/ my fellow forum members did, the words do come across a bit hard.
But there is nothing that you can do now, since she has already blocked you. So its better that you put this episode behind you, rather than fretting over it and sapping the joy out of your life.
Also, as far as the hourly limit is concerned, the client can increase or decrease it as per their will. If I were in your position (which I would have dreaded), I will not try to salvage the situation as the damage has been done already. Since you are not in touch with the client directly, no effort of yours can correct the situation or your credibility. (Have you heard about the game 'Chinese whispers'?).
Drag yourself out of this gloom and doom, go out for shopping, drink a fine wine and start afresh.
Here's to a new tomorrow Cheers!!
Maybe competence was the wrong word to use. They may have thought you were saying that they weren't competent enough to help them.
Either way, it doesn't really warrant their anger, or their lack of payment, and shouldn't really have altered how many hours they give you a week. But as Petra says, it is up to them how many hours they want to give you on any given week.
Edit: Just seen all the other posts with regards to the competence part. Looks like that bit has been done to death, sorry!