A judge in the United Kingdom ruled that a Japanese professor was incorrect in attributing racism to a comment from her superior about loving sushi. 

In September 2021, University of London Professor Nana Sato-Rossberg alleged that her boss, Provost Claire Ozanne, raised the subject of Japanese food and that her family likes this cuisine and that they eat sushi. 

This led her to raise a complaint internally, accusing Ozanne of being "unconsciously biased." When the complaint failed, the professor filed a complaint with the UK's Employment Tribunal, which is responsible for hearing claims from people who think an employer or potential employer treated them unlawfully.

In April, Employment Judge Brown dismissed the professor's claims that there was unlawful harassment or discrimination, saying it was unreasonable.  

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Professor Nana Sato-Rossberg works at the University of London at the School of Oriental and African Studies.?

Professor Nana Sato-Rossberg works at the University of London at the School of Oriental and African Studies.? (Fox News Digital)

"The tribunal decided that Ozanne mentioning a sushi restaurant and her family’s love of sushi was not a detriment because a reasonable person would not consider themselves at a disadvantage when a manager, trying to be friendly and find common ground, was enthusiastic about food from the person’s country of origin," the final report on the case said. 

"A reasonable person would not take offence at such complimentary and friendly words. In this case, [Prof] Ozanne’s words were not even ‘unfortunate’. They were not reasonably seen as hurtful or misjudged," the Tribunal continued. "On the contrary, [Prof Sato-Rossberg’s] objection reflected [her] own hypersensitivity and predisposition to find fault with Ms Ozanne."

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Sato-Rossberg had defended her allegations by telling the Tribunal, "She would not have said to a German person, ‘I like sausage.' …She anticipated that I like to talk about Japan. That is biased in the first place."

The professor continued, "Ozanne chose to speak only about topics directly relevant to my race: the liking of Japanese food and that her family like it and eat sushi."

University of London Professor Sushi

"Regarding harassment, even if the Claimant did perceive the comments to be harassing, she was not reasonable in doing so," the Tribunal ruled. (Adobe Stock)

The Tribunal said that the Japanese professor had preconcieved expectations that she would be treated unfairly, and used that lense to "see race discrimination… where there was none."

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According to the decision, the Japanese professor believed the provost "would be biased" because she wasn't British.  

"In other words, [she] had decided, at the beginning of [the provost's] management… that [the provost] would be racist in her dealings. The Tribunal considered that, as a result of this preconception, the [the professor] was predisposed to find fault with [the provost] and to see race discrimination in… interactions with her, when there was none," the decision continued. 

University of London Professor Sushi

The Tribunal called out the professor for "hypersensitivity."

The provost was managing the professor as part of her "normal" job duties and that the professor "took exception to this."

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For example, when the provost pointed out what she perceived as the professor's fumbling department filings other employees had been able to handle. 

"This was nothing to do with race," the tribunal said. 

Fox News Digital contacted Sato-Rossberg for a comment. 

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