15 of the weirdest excuses used when calling in sick

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It’s that time of year when the weather gets colder and people start missing work because of illness.

Or because of bats in the hair. Or deer bites. Or from back injuries sustained while chasing a beaver. Yep, these were just some of the excuses people used when calling in to their boss to say that they’d be out for the day.

In our annual survey, one-third of employers reported that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays than any other time of the year. While cold and flu season has much to do with the abundance of absences, some people are using up those sick days to spend more time with their families, get in some last-minute shopping or just relax in bed when the weather outside looks too bleak to even deal with.

Twenty-nine percent of workers admitted to playing hooky this year, citing errands and plans with family or friends among their top reasons for calling in sick. But check out these fifteen weird excuses that people used to miss work. I’m not sure how anyone even pulled these off without busting out in laughter…

  1. Employee’s 12-year-old daughter stole his car and he had no other way to work. Employee didn’t want to report it to the police.
  2. Employee said bats got in her hair.
  3. Employee said a refrigerator fell on him.
  4. Employee was in line at a coffee shop when a truck carrying flour backed up and dumped the flour into her convertible.
  5. Employee said a deer bit him during hunting season.
  6. Employee ate too much at a party.
  7. Employee fell out of bed and broke his nose.
  8. Employee got a cold from a puppy.
  9. Employee’s child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER to remove it.
  10. Employee hurt his back chasing a beaver.
  11. Employee got his toe caught in a vent cover.
  12. Employee had a headache after going to too many garage sales.
  13. Employee’s brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel while in Mexico.
  14. Employee drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the hospital.
  15. Employee was at a bowling alley and a bucket filled with water (due to a leak) crashed through the ceiling and hit her on the head.

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More interesting stats on absenteeism in the workplace:

  • More workers call in sick in the first quarter of the year, with 34 percent of employers saying workers call in January through March.
  • Phone calls are still the dominant way in which people tell their bosses they aren’t coming in to work (84 percent); emails are second (24 percent) and text messages are third (11 percent).

“While outrageous events are known to happen, frequent absences and over-the-top excuses can start to bring your credibility into question,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.

“Many employers are more flexible in their definition of a sick day and will allow employees to use them to recharge and take care of personal needs. This is especially evident post-recession when employees have taken on added responsibilities and are working longer days. Your best bet is to be up front with your manager.”

What’s the weirdest excuse you’ve ever used or heard of someone using in your career? Share with us below in the comments!

18 Comments
  1. Pingback: what NOT to say when you miss work « what is smangela?

  2. Some of those excuses are so over the top that they must be true. Bats in the hair? I once had a reason for being late that was pretty wild, but true. There were pigs on the freeway in Detroit. A truck on the way to a slaughterhouse near downtown overturned, and a bunch of pigs got loose. The police shut down the freeway until they could be captured.

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  7. As someone who has had to take a child to the ER to have a bean removed from his nose (HIS excuse was that he had gotten it out the first time), I can identify with the mint. You have to love having nephews….

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  11. I worked at in the Accounting Department of a local manufacturing plant a few years ago and there was always one girl who call off at least once a week. She had been at the company for about a year at the time of her last call off. She really had the office buzzing because she told the office manager that she needed to take the week off because she checked herself into a mental hospital because she was afraid she was about to have a nervous breakdown. LOL!

  12. I had a particularly attractive waitress that called off her scheduled shift, saying she couldn’t work because she had an “ingrown pubic hair”. Although I couldn’t personally verify her excuse, I gave her an “A” for originality and she kept her job. A couple of years later I was exchanging employee stories with a physician friend of mine and he laughed and said it was true because he treated her for it!

  13. One guy told me this as the reason he couldn’t work; 
    “My dad’s new girlfriend cooked me a meal, but I think she put something in it to make me ill, as I have been violently sick.  I don’t  think she likes me.”

  14. One of my high school friends used the excuse of a badger attack once.  Of course, when he came back to school, it turns out he really HAD been attacked by a badger…  His face was all scratched up and everything.

  15. Pingback: Emploi : 10 bonnes excuses pour justifier votre absence du bureau

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