The Christmas party season has begun and the country's photocopier repair men are poised for their busiest time of year. But, according to a recent survey, this year may see many insurance brokers cry "humbug".

Marketing agency Peninsula surveyed 924 brokers and found a staggering 82% of these who have held parties in the past will not throw a party this year due to behavioural issues and worry about problems in the future.

Also 37% of bosses that have held Christmas parties hold a separate festivity for each department to avoid any internal conflict. And 81% of those polled have, at some stage, had to take firm disciplinary action following a staff Christmas party.

Peninsula head of corporate development Russell Guest gives his advice to stop potentially damaging claims: "Although employers and employees will be mixing socially in a way that is unusual in a hierarchical office situation, respectful manners and polite behaviour is essential to avoid any employee claims to the contrary. It is advisable for the employers/organisers of the event to remain relatively free from intoxication."

Fat chance, says Backchat.