Christmas party disciplinary list topped by punch-ups and threatening behaviour

Punch-ups and threatening behaviour top the list of reasons for disciplinary action following the staff Christmas party, according to a poll by the CIPD.

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

Of these, nearly a third said that the reason for action was fighting, and one-fifth (19%) said that threatening behaviour was to blame. The next most commonly reported reasons were sexual harassment (17%), bullying (12%), and other forms of discrimination (8%).

Almost half (46%) 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 showed why it is was important that employers reminded staff that inappropriate behaviour would be dealt with in the same way as it would be during normal work time.

“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,” he said.

“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.”