Injury From Attack by Boss With Meat Cleaver Is Compensable, Cook Says

A sushi restaurant cook who police said was attacked by his boss with a meat cleaver has filed a workers’s compensation claim, contending that the altercation came in the course of employment.

Sushi Ya, said to be a popular restaurant with the Joliet legal community, was closed for a week after the bloody fight, according to a local news report. The owner, Ziong Xhang, 53, was charged with aggravated battery and posted $10,000 bail last week.

Police reports said video from the kitchen showed that an argument broke out between Xhang and his cook, Branden Bruzzo, on Jan. 7. Xhang reportedly put his hand on Bruzzo’ss shoulder and Bruzzo punched the boss in the neck.

The video shows that Xhang grabbed a meat cleaver and hit Bruzzo in the hand, causing a deep laceration, police said. The owner chased Bruzzo out of the kitchen. Bruzzo, 32, was treated at a hospital, was charged with misdemeanor battery and was released on bond.

In his workers’s compensation claim, Bruzzo, who is represented by claimants’s attorney Brian Cichon, said his employer was notified verbally about the injury. He also said that he was “injured in the course of employment.”

The cook made about $880 a week and would be entitled to two-thirds of that under Illinois’s workers’s compensation statute.

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