Not all Christmas parties end in disaster...but some do

Not all Christmas parties end in disaster…but some do

While the vast majority Christmas parties totter into history incident-free, a HR disaster apparently strikes in at least one in ten cases, with 12 percent requiring some form of stern disciplinary action.

According to research from payroll and HR provider Moorepay, the majority of incidents usually don’t result in more than embarrassment, but in those cases where disciplinary action is required, seven out of ten businesses feel unable to deal with the situation adequately during the aftermath of a Christmas party.

Here is a festive platter of the most common cringe-worthy Christmas party disasters businesses have to mop up in December:

Silence is golden

Free drinks at the Christmas party can make some people very talkative and many are tempted to tell their bosses exactly what they think of them, in no uncertain terms. This common occurrence might be considered brave by some, but sometimes companies are left with no other choice than to reprimand and potentially dismiss an employee as a result of their outburst….when they’ve sobered up of course. Quite a hangover!

Wardrobe Mulfunctions and more

While wardrobe malfunctions at Christmas parties obviously can’t be helped, the second most common party issue is actually indecent exposure. Stripping off in the middle of the dance floor might seem fun at the time but it can lead to serious consequences where  disciplinary action may be required depending on the severity of the incident.

Break a leg

Music can make or break a good party or, in some cases, someone’s limb. When the dinner tables become an extension of the dance floor, accidents can happen, resulting in broken  arms or legs, cuts, bruises…the works. Despite this being painful, and perhaps not resulting in discplinary action, businesses are often left to find alternative resources to cover injured personnel over the festive period.

Let’s get physical

The combination of free drinks and the laid-back mood at Christmas parties can potentially lead to temporary office romances. While it isn’t necessarily the company’s business what happens between people outside the office, these personal relationships can have an impact on business interactions and team morale. In the worst cases, businesses have had to arrange mediation sessions for those involved and even moving the individuals into different working teams.

Snow (fist) fight

Most companies pride themselves on allowing a bit of banter between their employees but there have been instances when  banter turns into something more serious…like a brawl, like smashed glasses over foreheads and blood and guts. Depending on the damage caused, businesses may have to issue formal warnings and  even pay out compensation for damages incurred to third parties.

While such stories make for great water cooler conversations, these situations are often very sensitive and challenging for businesses to manage.






Robert joined the HRreview editorial team in October 2015. After graduating from the University of Salford in 2009 with a BA in Politics, Robert has spent several years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past he has been part of editorial teams at Flux Magazine, Mondo*Arc Magazine and The Marine Professional.