10 of the Strangest Excuses for Calling In Sick

by | Oct 28, 2014 | General

As the winter season nears, more people start calling in sick. And you won’t believe some of the excuses people use for calling in. A new CareerBuilder survey looks at how many workers have faked being sick this year, as well as some of the strangest excuses they have used while doing so. The national survey was commissioned by CareerBuilder and conducted online by Harris Poll. It included a representative sample of 3,103 workers and 2,203 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

Over the past year, 28% of employees have called in to work sick when they were feeling well, down from 32% last year. When asked for a reason, 30% said they just didn’t feel like going in to work and 29% said they wanted the day to relax. Another 21% took the day off to attend a doctor’s appointment and 19% wanted to catch up on sleep. Meanwhile, bad weather was enough for 11% of employees to take the day off.

Employers reported hearing the following excuses from employees calling in sick:

  • Employee just put a casserole in the oven.
  • Employee’s plastic surgery for enhancement purposes needed some “tweaking” to get it just right.
  • Employee was sitting in the bathroom and her feet and legs fell asleep. When she stood up, she fell and broke her ankle.
  • Employee had been at the casino all weekend and still had money left to play with on Monday morning.
  • Employee woke up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it.
  • Employee had a “lucky night” and didn’t know where he was.
  • Employee got stuck in the blood pressure machine at the grocery store and couldn’t get out.
  • Employee had a gall stone they wanted to heal holistically.
  • Employee caught their uniform on fire by putting it in the microwave to dry.
  • Employee accidentally got on a plane.

Though the majority of employers give their employees the benefit of the doubt, 31% say they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth in one way or another. Among employers who have checked up on an employee who called in sick, asking to see a doctor’s note was the most popular way to find out if the absence was legit (66%), followed by calling the employee (49%). As many as 15%t of employers went the extra mile (quite literally) and drove past the employee’s house. Nearly 1 in 5 employers (18%) say they have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse.