Fighting and threatening behaviour top the list of reasons for discipline or dismissal following staff Christmas party, says the CIPD.

One in 10 workers know of someone from their organisation who has either been disciplined or dismissed for inappropriate behaviour at the staff Christmas party, a survey of 2,000 employees by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reveals.

Of these, 29 per cent said that the reason for the disciplinary action or dismissal was fighting and 19 per cent said that threatening behaviour was to blame.

The next most commonly reported reasons for disciplinary action or dismissal were sexual harassment (17 per cent), bullying (12 per cent) and other forms of discrimination (eight per cent), for example on the grounds of disability or religion. Almost half (46 per cent) said the reason was for ‘other inappropriate behaviour’, which could include unorthodox use of the office photocopier, amorous activity on company premises or insulting the boss.

Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD, said the survey results show why it is so important that employers remind staff that inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with in the same way as it would be during normal work time.

He said: “People should feel able to relax and let their hair down, however it is a good idea for employers to remind their staff that inappropriate behaviour could land them in serious trouble and even lead to them losing their job in the case of serious misconduct.

“In the current economic environment with people under increasing pressure at work there is an added risk that people will drink too much, let off steam and do something they might regret in the sober light of the next morning.”