Christmas party punch-ups: were these fair dismissals?

How would you deal with an employee who gets into a brawl with a colleague at the Christmas party, when both employees play down the incident afterwards?

Should the employer be concerned if an employee misbehaves not at the Christmas party, but on the way home after the party has ended? These issues have been considered in two employment tribunal cases.

Operative dismissed over after-party punch-up

Gimson v Display By Design Ltd ET/1900336/2012

Mr Gimson was employed as an operative. He was walking home with a group of colleagues after their work Christmas party when he had a disagreement with one of his colleagues and then punched another colleague in the face. The employer subsequently instigated its disciplinary procedure and summarily dismissed Mr Gimson for gross misconduct, finding from its investigation that there was no provocation. Mr Gimson’s appeal was rejected…..

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