• Monday, September 25, 2023


Sushi chef awarded £7,000 in legal dispute with co-worker

By: Pramod Thomas

A sushi chef was awarded more than £7,000 settlement after violent confrontation with colleague at Waitrose store.

Hemanta Mainali was engaged in a violent altercation with a co-worker at the store over the raw fish counter, following complaints about receiving late-night WhatsApp messages, according to reports.

During the hearing at a employment tribunal, it was revealed that Mainali was extremely angered when he received a message from Sumin Lohani regarding the work schedule during the early hours of a Saturday morning, disturbing his sleep, reported The Times.

He responded to the message with ‘go f**k yourself’.

According to Mainali, the early morning message he received was not sent through a group chat but was specifically directed at him.

The tribunal took note of Mainali’s claim, stating that he believed the message was a deliberate attempt to disrupt him and even push him to quit his job.

The pair owned an independent sushi kiosk franchise that operated inside a Waitrose supermarket in Godalming, Surrey.

The relationship between the two individuals was reported to have worsened significantly, reaching a point where, two weeks after the disagreement over the WhatsApp message, they had a violent confrontation at the sushi counter.

Later, Mainali quit and sued Lohani for harassment and breach of contract.

Although Mainali’s harassment claim was unsuccessful, as a judge determined that Lohani did not intend to purposefully disturb Mainali’s peace by sending the message after midnight.

He did succeed in a breach of contract claim as he was compelled to leave his position without being given the required six months’ notice.

During the tribunal hearing, it was revealed that Mainali held a 30 per cent ownership stake in the business operating the sushi kiosk, while Lohani owned the remaining shares. The two individuals had known each other since childhood and they had both come from the same village in Nepal.

Their friendship began to deteriorate in 2020 when Lohani sent a weekly work schedule via WhatsApp to multiple employees during the early hours of a Saturday morning.

The tribunal determined that both parties had exaggerated their accounts, and the altercation involved only ‘pushing and shoving’.

The damages awarded will be paid following a subsequent hearing.

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