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Creative excuses when calling in sick

October 25 2013

In the past year, 32 percent of workers called in sick when not actually ill, up slightly from 30 percent last year, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Additionally, 30 percent of employers said they notice an increased number of sick days among their employees around the holidays.

Twenty percent of workers said in the past year they called in sick but still ended up doing work from home throughout the day.

Employers reported the following real-life examples when asked to share the most memorable excuses for workplace absences:

  • Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway
  • Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover
  • Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy
  • Employee said that someone glued her doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work
  • Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk
  • Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in
  • Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift
  • Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in
  • Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI
  • Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping
  • Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket
  • Employee got lost and ended up in another state
  • Employee couldn’t decide what to wear

The online survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,484 U.S. workers and 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals between Aug. 13 and Sept. 6, 2013.


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