More than 1,300 workers at Aviva Investors, the insurer’s asset management arm, were shocked on Friday to receive an exit email from the HR department.

There was a stunned silence at the London headquarters as staff across the division read the unsympathetic memo – intended for just one employee.

It instructed all Aviva Investor workers to hand over company property and security passes on their way out of the building, and submit all electronic passwords.

The terse communication reminded staff not to spill any company secrets.

It read: “I am required to remind you of your contractual obligations to the company you are leaving. You have an obligation to retain any confidential information pertaining to Aviva Investors operations, systems and clients.”

Of little consolation, the final line said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and wish you all the best for the future.”

Minutes later staff were relieved to receive a grovelling message from HR apologising for the blanket email.

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After a very happy office party held in a restaurant in downtown Changchun, northeast China’s Jilin Province, everyone in attendance drank too much and when it came time to leave were all were too drunk to drive home.

Drunk driving in China is a serious offense, punishable by up to six months in jail in addition to a hefty fine.

Boss, Zhang Fei, announced to the group that he was too drunk to drive home, but to his horror everyone before him was as drunk as he was.

Sodden with alcohol and unwilling to leave his car downtown, Zhang was momentarily at a loss as to what to do. His vice president, Huang Weiyun, who was just as drunk as everyone else, but he managed to come up with a workable albeit different solution to safely get cars and people home.

Huang pointed out that it was only three miles away and that the exercise would do them all good – so all ten quickly agreed and set off with Zhang at the wheel.

Passers-by were stunned to see the group, laughing and singing, as they pushed their boss’s VW car home through the city streets during the 45 minute journey.

Traffic officers said that as long as the car’s engine was not running, it would not be classed as drink-driving under Chinese law.

But they warned other people against following suit, pointing out the dangers of pushing a car, while drunk, through busy streets.

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