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Sushi chef claimed he got raw deal from employer

Sushi chef claimed he got raw deal from employer

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Sushi chef claimed he got raw deal from employer

A sushi chef who wanted compensation after resigning from his job over "intolerable working conditions" has seen his appeal thrown out by the Bailiff.

Artur Sumera took his claim against Atlantique Seafood, trading as Soy Sushi Restaurant, to the Royal Court after the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal dismissed his claims in March.

Not satisfied with the outcome of that hearing, he appealed to the tribunal's Deputy Chairman - who upheld the original decision - before escalating the matter still further, without success.   

Mr Sumera brought claims for unpaid wages for times he was unable to work because of "intolerable conditions" in the kitchen, and for untaken time off in lieu of overtime. 

When Mr Sumera resigned on 15 July, having worked at the restaurant since May 2016, it was suggested that he had done so in order to take up employment elsewhere. 

It was only later, the tribunal ruled, that the chef had claimed to have been badly treated by his former employer. 

When he left, he still had an amount of overtime worked which he would have been able to claim as time off in lieu [TOIL].

However, it was Mr Sumera's own responsibility to ensure that he organised his time off, and there was no evidence of his head chef ever “routinely and unreasonably” refusing to grant it.


Pictured: Jersey's Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache, who was asked to make the final decision in the case. 

“One of the factors which may have gone into his assessment of whether he should give notice or not was untaken time off in lieu," said the Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache. "It is hard to see why the tribunal should afford greater significance to that factor than clearly did the applicant.”

His contract expressly stated that there would be no paid overtime and that it was Mr Sumera's responsibility to "use it or lose it".

The Bailiff also dismissed the claims over Mr Sumera's working conditions, saying the kitchen was of an "open nature", with four open windows helping with smoke extraction even if the ventilation system was out of service.

"The temperature in the kitchen was not unreasonably hot and the claimant’s […] evidence was unreliable and inconsistent in this regard," said Sir William. 

Although the head chef's evidence was generally found to be more reliable than Mr Sumera's, the restaurant's informal approach to overtime was deemed unsatisfactory. 

"The restaurant's failure to implement a formal overtime and TOIL policy was unfortunate and should be addressed by the Respondent urgently," said Sir William in closing. 



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