Trans woman gets apology after freelance marketplace Upwork refused to pay her

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Freelance marketplace Upwork has apologised after a trans woman in German was refused payment for work she had already done.

Jennifer Glauche, a 3D printing expert, got some work through Upwork fixing printers for a company.

However, once the work was completed, and Glauche was expecting payment, she was refused, as the name on her online account did not match the name on her bank account.

The company, which boasts 9 million freelancers and 4 million clients, has since apologised, and processed the payment.

The reason Glauche was denied payment was because trans people in Germany who wish to change their legal name must prove their commitment to transition, and are usually only permitted to change their name after around a year.

The company has said it is reviewing its processes, and has processed the payment, despite originally saying it would not make an exception.

A statement from the company reads: “Upwork sincerely apologises to Jennifer and has now approved her account so that she’s able to receive payment. Your article states that our response made her feel unwelcome on our site – that was never our intention. In fact, we signed a joint statement just a few months ago supporting the addition of non-discrimination protections for LGBT people to civil rights laws. That Jennifer felt unwelcome is devastating to us, since our mission as a company is to provide and empower people around the world with freelance opportunities.

“We are grateful that Jennifer called this matter to our attention. In this case, our payment processes are meant to protect customers by ensuring compliance with their banks’ policies. Many banks will reject disbursements if the name on the bank account is different than the name the customer has on their Upwork account. To decrease delays in receiving payments, we seek to match bank names with their Upwork account name.

“Our director of global payments is sending Jennifer an apology and also thanking her for highlighting this challenge. Further, she is personally inviting Jennifer to help review our proposed policies to better ensure the transgender community are able to work effectively on Upwork.”

Glauche, however, said if the company had been German, she would have considered taking legal action.