Upwork Rules

Which You

Must Not Violate

6 main Upwork rules everyone needs to know to avoid a ban on Upwork and make the most out of the platform. Read now!

1. Circumvention

What is it?

Circumvention is when a client and freelancer meet through Upwork but try to continue their relationship elsewhere, mainly transferring payment outside Upwork. Asking to pay or to be paid outside of Upwork is a violation even if the person doesn’t go through with it.

Exceptions when Circumvention is allowed:

2. Communicating outside of Upwork BEFORE the start of contract

What it means?

Upwork requires all pre-contract communications to take place on Upwork and no contact information to be shared before a contract is started. They are very specific about the rule: You must not request or provide contact details in a profile, job post, proposal, invite, or message. Contact information includes but is not be limited to:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Physical address
  • Link to a contact form or form requesting contact information
  • Link to an applicant management system or means to submit a proposal or application outside of Upwork
  • Any information that would enable contact through social media, other website, platform, or application (i.e., Skype or WhatsApp IDs)

Exceptions:

  • Contact information can be shared if it is for the sole purpose of giving the other party access to a system that allows them to scope the project in advance.
  • Business or Enterprise Clients are permitted to request and share contact information, as well as conduct interviews or pre-contract communications, outside of Upwork. Similarly, freelancers are allowed to share contacts with such clients.
  • If prior to starting a contract a legal document must be shared that includes contact information (such as NDAs), this will be permitted.
  • If critical project information is stored in a system that requires an email address to access, you can share your email address for this purpose only.
  • You can share a portfolio that’s not on Upwork

3. Identity Uncertainty and Account Sharing

Provide your own accurate and verifiable information and use a clear photo of yourself. Pay attention to the word ‘verifiable’ here! Because if you make things up and it’s important enough that Upwork goes to check the accuracy – they will ban your account for lying.

Don’t allow anyone else to use your account and don’t ever log into one of your clients’ accounts on their behalf. Instead, have them add you to their team with the appropriate permissions. You also need to comply with requests to phone verify or ID verify.

4. Multiple Logins or Wrong Account Type.

Use the same login for all work on Upwork, whether you're selling your own services as a freelancer, managing an agency, or hiring others as a client. If you have added several accounts (one for client, another for freelancer and a third one as an agency member, for example), make sure that you are using the right account for different actions.

5. Spam and Harassment (both from freelancers and client)

Treat everyone with respect and professional courtesy in all communications. Don't send the same cover letter repeatedly or excessively message anyone. For clients - do not post multiple same job posts. Do not do or say anything that may be considered as violent, discriminatory or harassing, either generally or towards a specific person or group, sexually explicit or related to sex work or escort services or in any way related to child exploitation. Even rude language can cause you a ban from Upwork. And if used towards you - a complaint to the Support will very easily land a ban for the other party.

6. Feedback Abuse

Great feedback is earned, not forced. Don't pressure clients to give you good feedback, and don't withhold work until feedback is left. It's OK to let clients know that you strive to provide high-quality work and to earn a good rating or to ask for feedback to be left.

Feedback abuse applies to clients too, so they can’t blackmail freelancers into doing more work by threatening of bad feedback.

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