Last Year’s 12 Weirdest Excuses for Being Late to Work

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What do the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Vaseline and a black bear have in common?

They featured in some of 2015’s most outrageous excuses for being late to work, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

Harris Poll conducted the nationwide survey of more than 2,500 hiring and human resource managers — largely from the private sector — and more than 3,200 workers across industries.

Employers said the most outrageous excuses they heard from late employees include the following:

  • I thought of quitting today, but then decided not to, so I came in late.
  • My hair caught on fire from my blow dryer.
  • I was detained by Homeland Security.
  • I had to chase my cows back into the field.
  • A black bear entered my carport and decided to take a nap on the hood of my car.
  • My lizard had to have emergency surgery in the morning and died during surgery. I had to mourn while deciding whether to have the lizard disposed of by the vet or bring the lizard corpse with me to work.
  • There was fresh powder on the hill. I had to go skiing.
  • There was a store grand opening and I wanted to get the opening day sales.
  • I had to finish watching “My Name Is Earl.”
  • All of my clothes were stolen.
  • I was confused by the time change and unsure if it was “spring forward” or “fall back.”
  • A Vaseline truck overturned on the highway and cars were slipping left and right.

The most common excuses for being late were:

  1. Traffic (53 percent)
  2. Oversleeping (33 percent)
  3. Bad weather (28 percent)
  4. Lack of sleep (23 percent)
  5. Needing to get kids to day care or school (15 percent)

So how common is arriving late to work? Among workers, 25 percent admitted to being late at least once a month, and 13 percent admitted to being late weekly.

Being late can be a gamble, however, and 62 percent of workers who show up late stay later to make up for it.

Among employers, CareerBuilder found that:

  • 51 percent expect employees to be on time every day.
  • 41 percent have fired someone for being late.
  • 33 percent say they have no problem with the occasional late arrival, as long as it doesn’t become a pattern.
  • 16 percent say they don’t need employees to be punctual if they can still get their work done.

What’s the weirdest excuse you’ve ever given for being late? Share your thoughts our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

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