The Year’s 10 Weirdest Excuses for Calling in Sick

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A new CareerBuilder survey finds that 38 percent of people who called in sick to work in the past year weren't actually ill. And some of their excuses were awfully strange.

A new CareerBuilder survey shows that 38 percent of people called in sick at work in the past year when they weren’t actually ill. That’s a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

The survey of more than 3,300 full-time workers and more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals working for various sizes of companies in various industries was conducted by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder.

Some of the most common excuses for calling in sick seem to be the most honest, with more than 1 in 5 employees admitting they just didn’t feel like going, needed to relax or needed to catch up on sleep. Other common reasons include having a doctor’s appointment and blaming bad weather.

But other excuses were more creative. Employers reported that the most memorable excuses they’ve heard for workplace absences include the following:

  • Employee claimed his grandmother poisoned him with ham.
  • Employee was stuck under the bed.
  • Employee broke his arm reaching to grab a falling sandwich.
  • Employee said the universe was telling him to take a day off.
  • Employee’s wife found out he was cheating. He had to spend the day retrieving his belongings from the Dumpster.
  • Employee poked herself in the eye while combing her hair.
  • Employee said his wife put all his underwear in the washer.
  • Employee said the meal he cooked for a department potluck didn’t turn out well.
  • Employee was going to the beach because the doctor said she needed more vitamin D.
  • Employee said her cat was stuck inside the dashboard of her car.

Just be careful what you wish for, as trying to get out of work can leave you without work.

One-third of employers reported that they have checked to see if an employee was actually sick after calling in sick this year, and 22 percent reported having fired an employee for calling in sick with a bogus excuse.

The most common ways that employers check whether a worker is being honest about being sick are by:

  • Asking to see a doctor’s note.
  • Calling the employee.
  • Checking the employee’s social media posts.

What’s the weirdest excuse you’ve used or heard for calling in sick? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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