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priya1743
Member

discriminatory behavior in Upwork

Hi,

I just now received an "invite" from someone named **Edited for Community Guidelines** with the following message:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

For the record, I have been in USA for over 35 years, and am of Indian origin. How am I supposed to respond to this "invite"?

This smacks of racism at its core. Not many years ago, restaurants/buses etc. had signs that said: "No Blacks ("N" word) allowed" and this country fought a civil war over that. It does not matter if it is private or public transaction, we as a society have decided that we do not tolerate/condone discrimination.

 

It is ironic that having made "No Indian apply" as his requirement, he actually sent an invite to an Indian. He does not know me as an Indian when he sent an invite, but once in the interview he comes to know of me as an Indian, I can expect that he will not proceed (per his requirements) solely based on the fact that I am an Indian.

 

This person, for whatever reason, has deemed over 1 billion people of Indian origin as not being "good enough" for his python/php job, and has made that a requirement for his job. It is not obvious whether this person did this deliberately or just as a habit, however it does hurt the sentiments of many people. 

 

My question to Upwork community, and Upwork administrators: How do we as a community respond to this behavior? I am not advocating over reaction, but somehow Upwork should let everyone (including those posting jobs) know that this kind of discriminatory behavior is not tolerated and strongly discouraged in Upwork. Can/Will Upwork administrators do that???

 

Mohan.

16 REPLIES 16
kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Mohan,

 

Job postings that discriminate against race or national origin aren't allowed on Upwork. I checked the invitation you are referring to and it looks like the team has already taken actions against the job.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Discrimination is most definetly in effect at upwork!

paperdog
Member

This begs the question...Upwork specifically allows Clients to select the national origin of their candidates.  I see this a lot with the criteria:  "Only Freelancers located in the United States may apply".

I can't speak to your specific experience on the issue, but is it possible the client was trying to convery that non-Us citizens should not apply.   It does seem that he singled out 'Indian" nationals, but then again, the UpWork Platform hosts a significant number of Freelancers from India...and its not a stretch to say that they are very active in technoligies, which are in demand on the platform.   

AGain I dont really know the circumstances... but it would seem to me that Upworks has its own brand of 'discretionary' selection already built in.  It could be for tax purposes among things...



 


@Grant C wrote:

This begs the question...Upwork specifically allows Clients to select the national origin of their candidates.  I see this a lot with the criteria:  "Only Freelancers located in the United States may apply".


 "Location" and "national origin" are two very different matters. Upwork categorically does not allow clients to select the "national origin" of their candidates.

 

The OP's location is USA, his national origin is Indian. My national origin is German, my location is Italy...

It is fine to stipulate a location or a native language. It is not fine to exclude a national origin.

Oh pleeze!   Petra,   You are desparately splitting hairs here... I dont really care how you slice it up , the bottom line is that there is an implication of 'national origin; when you limit candidate selection to a 'location' ...on a platform that is inherently supposed to support trans-national work opportunities.   You would have to be pretty dense and thick headed to not see that...


@Grant C wrote:

Oh pleeze!   Petra,   You are desparately splitting hairs here... I dont really care how you slice it up , the bottom line is that there is an implication of 'national origin; 


Grant, Upwork allows per country restriction. Not per origin. You can hire freelancers located only in the US, or only in France, but not only white or not Indians, or not Polish, and so on.

 

You are allowed to explicitly refuse people who are not located in the US. But you cannot explicitly refuse people who are of Indian origin even if they live in the US.

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless


@Rene K wrote:

@Grant C wrote:

Oh pleeze!   Petra,   You are desparately splitting hairs here... I dont really care how you slice it up , the bottom line is that there is an implication of 'national origin; 


Grant, Upwork allows per country restriction. Not per origin. You can hire freelancers located only in the US, or only in France, but not only white or not Indians, or not Polish, and so on.

 

You are allowed to explicitly refuse people who are not located in the US. But you cannot explicitly refuse people who are of Indian origin even if they live in the US.


 Of course. As I explained above. Grant just doesn't understand the difference.

You havent expalined anything exept the patently obvious... ANd As usual, nothing useful... 

Rene, 

Contrary to what certain**Edited for Community Guidelines** might assert,   I actually do know the difference between location and origin.  My argument was simply to point out the 'appearence' of a workaround to Upwork's anti discrimmination policy.    

Currently , Upwork provides clients with the ability to select a location , which 'could' be misconstrued.as discrimmination.    Example: A free lancer from India, regardless of qualifications,  is necessaerily rejected based on 'United states Only' location.   WHen you consider that physical location is technically irrelevant on a Virtual Platform... how can Upwork it defend against claims of discrimmination?


Some jobs do warrant being in the same timezone at times though. That's probably the ideal use-case. You don't want to work with someone who is waking up when you go to bed? Sure. That's reasonable.

What others are saying is - it's not okay to say 'this color/race/etc isn't allowed.' It is okay to say you want people in the US. 

 

Edit; For the record, yes. Some clients do use it as a filter for the reasons you mentioned.

Clients may want freelancers to be located in a specific country for a whole range of perfectly legitimate reasons. Timezone is one of them, access to certain resources is another, legal and accounting matters are yet another, as is the ability to access resources that are restricted by location.

 

Then there are clients who simply want to work with a freelancer who lives in the same jurisdiction as they do, just in case things go haywire. That may be over-cautious, but it is not discrimination and it is not against the terms of service, whereas discriminating against specific ethnic backgrounds obviously is.

"WHen you consider that physical location is technically irrelevant on a Virtual Platform... how can Upwork it defend against claims of discrimmination?"

 

@ Grant:  One of my current best Upwork clients hired me based, in part, on the fact that they were looking for someone who lives on the east coast of the United States. It's an advertising agency, and they often have a very tight turnaround time and rush projects. I find it difficult to believe that this stated desire to hire an east-coaster is a sneaky work-around for some kind of hidden bias or racism (they secretly hate people from Ohio? distrust folks who live in Wisconsin? loathe Oregonians?). I think that, in fact, there are often very good reasons for clients to prefer working with freelancers from specific regions. Time zone is but one of those reasons.

 

Another client hired me last week to proofread, polish, and re-work his dental blog, and specifically asked that I re-write significant parts of the text in "American vernacular." This man is a native of India, practicing in North America. You can understand why he would choose a U.S.-based freelancer.

Janean,

I have done work for people across the ocean (Not here through Upwork though) .   I have met people from India , who speak better english, than some of my U.S. collegues can speak...  I guess it all depends on numerous factors.... My point is that in a virtual platform, one would think that 'qualification ' would outweigh location.   (I do understand that 12 hour differences can impact one's readiness for meetings, rollouts, go-lives and  deliveries .   But I have known many associates that adapt to it, quite often. 

I also understand the need and reason for vernacular sensitive content (as you described)  So, wouldnt it take somewhat of a discerning presumption by that indian dentist to single out a candidate , indigenous to  'location', when in fact , on UpWork,  we can find Russian, Chinese, French...etc, who might easily qualify?  (And if any one questions why they may NOT qualify...would that also not suggest discrimmination?) 

 

   

@ Grant --

 

I do not think that you will find Russian, Chinese, French, etc. ESL speakers who would write phrases such as "we perhaps secretly wonder if we are truly worthy of the shiny new honorific 'Doctor'..." or "After the reflexive poverty of grad student life" or "there was not much left of my hopeful little salary, try as hard as it might to please me."  Maybe, but I am betting not. It takes a very, very fluent and confident grasp of language to use it in such figurative ways. Furthermore, this blog required a cultural understanding of what is involved in setting up a private medical (dental) practice in North America -- financing, partnership agreements, percentage payments based on productivity, benefits for non-partners, etc., etc., etc. Such knowledge is hardly to be expected of a non-citizen, and, in fact, is rather esoteric even among North Americans (and is part of why I charge the relatively high rates that I do).

Grant,

 

As others have already correctly pointed out, while expressing preference for freelancers of certain national origin is against the ToS, expressing preference for freelancers in certain location is allowed.

 

Let me quote one of my posts on this thread where this topic was discussed extensively

@Valeria K. wrote:

There are many legitimate reasons why a client may prefer freelancers located in a certain area. So in other words, location (where you live now) preference is allowed. Discriminatory preferences or requirements on nationality (where you were born), race or ethnicity are not allowed.

 


 A few posts and replies have been removed from this thread since they included personal attacks and insults. Please, be mindful of the Community Guidelines and respectful toward other members of the Community when posting on this boards.

~ Valeria
Upwork
pandoraharper
Member

I agree that for some, the US ONLY job may SCREAM to some as a way to discriminate in all sorts of ways. Of course, the world is hardly ever that cut and dry.

 

I agree that Upwork could make some changes, and a TIMEZONE preference would actually be useful for a lot of users. Clients and freelancers both. I'd like to have that feature.

 

I do not agree that:

Clients don't care about location. Not true. They care a hell of a lot, for lots of reasons. And then, other times they don't. It depends on the job, and their super specific needs. Probably, most of their concerns are related to LOCAL language skill, or a timezone issue.

 

This has nothing to do with your country of origin, the color of your skin, what sex you are, or any of those other things.

 

I've some across some religious discrimination job posts. I've reported them. I did not feel personally offended by them. 

 

Being offended because a client has a timezone concern? Don't we have more important things to worry about?