This month, I’ve recapped some thoughts on the office holiday party in the United States (available here, here and here.) But by and large, holiday parties in the United States are fairly tame — particularly when compared with our friends in Great Britain. Whether that’s through litigation or tradition is a question for sociologists, not employment law bloggers.
When I read this story in this morning’s Washington Post, I couldn’t help but think to myself — they have "medical tents" set up to deal with office holiday parties?
Just before midnight, the well-dressed, 25-year-old financial trader arrived by ambulance at the makeshift hospital tent pitched at a train station in central London. Blood oozed from his scalp, staining his elegant pink-striped shirt.
"What happened to your head?" asked Dixie Dean, an emergency care specialist with the London Ambulance Service, as she wrapped gauze around his head and checked for a skull fracture.
"I don’t remember," said the dazed man. He was the latest injured drunk this busy night in the medical tent set up to care for casualties of the infamous British office party.
In many parts of the world, companies hold Christmas parties — or holiday, year-end bashes — for employees. But in Britain, the gatherings have become a particularly potent institution, legendary for massive booze consumption that leads to fistfights, firings and spur-of-the-blurry-moment indiscretions in boardrooms and parking lots.
Dean compared the Christmas season in Britain to New Year’s Eve in New York — except that here, the binges run nightly for two solid weeks leading up to Dec. 25.
Whatever anyone may think of our nation’s employment laws, it seems a step up in civilization to have put these types of affairs in our rear-view mirrors.