Imagine the mortified realisation when American Express employee Rachael Fountain realised she had sent a saucy picture to a senior manager.

The then 22-year-old was sacked after sending the invite which featured her as a bunny girl and a naked man.

She had meant to send it to a friend but accidentally sent it to the then AMEX finance director with the same name.

The invitation asked guests to come dressed as “pornstars, prossies, pimps, gimps, flashers, slutty schoolgirls and anything sleazy and cheesy”.

Miss Fountain and her boyfriend Pascal Sharples, 24, had invited friends to watch an episode of the C4 show Sex Tips for Girls, in which the couple were featured testing a range of sex toys.

More than 100 people attended the party at her home in North Laine, Brighton.

But when the message went astray Amex bosses reported her for gross misconduct and she was later sacked by recruitment agency Adecco.

Miss Fountain, a wannabe erotic photographer, said: “I couldn’t believe it. My friend doesn’t actually work for Amex.

“Apparently, I’d emailed my boss before, but she never told me.

“My boyfriend and I were on Sex Tips last Tuesday so we decided to have a party to celebrate. I sent an invite to friends which was very tongue in cheek and featured an erotic picture of a naked man which was not in any way hardcore. It was nothing shocking or terrible.

“A couple of days after sending the email to a friend I got pulled in and told to clear my desk.

“I couldn’t believe it. I then realised I had sent it to the company’s finance director and not my friend who has the same name.

“I kicked up a fuss because I have had much worse things sent to me in that office, which is run by women, but I was sacked. In the end the party was excellent.”

Rachael dressed up as a Playboy bunny girl and Pascal, 24, as the Village People builder.

A spokesman for Amex said: “The sending of this kind of email is gross misconduct.”

The embarrassing picture led to a warning to emailers to be more careful before hitting the send button.

Email provider Lycos UK said people were deliberately saving emails to use as evidence against the sender.

According to a poll of 2,600 people, a quarter of office workers admitted holding on to work-related emails to use in future disputes.

A further 21% said they hoarded messages from friends and family for the same reason.

Meanwhile 14% stored emails from partners to use against them.

Toni Smith, of Lycos UK, said: “We really have become a nation of hoarders when it comes to our emails.

“People should be careful what they say as it could come back to haunt them, whether ||||||||||||||||||||||the messages are between friends, colleagues or even long-term partners.”