Not Fooling Anyone: Employees' Strangest Sick Day Excuses
“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one," George Washington once said. But when it comes to employee sick days, the bad ones are worth hearing.
Online job site CareerBuilder.com recently came up with a collection of some of the weirdest reasons employees have given for calling in sick. The list was included in CareerBuilder’s annual survey regarding employee absence, which was based on responses from 3,484 workers and 2,099 human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.
Here are some highlights from the excuse list:
- Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway.
- 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 received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI.
- Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping.
- Employee got lost and ended up in another state.
According to the survey, 30 percent of employers have done some research to check out if an employee’s excuse was legitimate. This included looking at employees’ social media posts and even driving by their house.
To try and avoid this awkwardness to begin with, Inc. contributor Suzanne Lucas recommended creating office guidelines for sick days. Though setting a policy can be seen as a bit of a hardline approach, the policy should include some leniency and understanding. Lucas said that the guidelines should look something like this:
- During a mild cold, workers should still come to the office.
- For anything more than that, workers should be allowed to work from home with the understanding that they don’t need to put in a full day.
- For an illness that requires serious bed rest, employees should stay home and offline.
Back to the issue of excuse making -- what is the most outrageous sick day excuse you’ve ever heard?