Ill Communication: Strange Reasons People Call in “Sick”

I once had to delay coming to work because my dog, Harry (pictured), injured his foot jumping off of my bed. While I didn’t call in “sick” and actually told my supervisors what was going on, it was an odd reason to be sure. (Even more odd considering he was fine the next day after I dropped a couple hundo at the vet, and he may have simply been in search of some painkillers to ease the stress he must be under from sleeping all day and listening to light rock radio.)

At any rate, Ragan reports on CareerBuilder’s survey about the reasons people can’t make it in to work. Some of these excuses will amuse you:

Take a look at this list CareerBuilder compiled from the survey. You may have heard some of these yourself.

When asked to share the most memorable excuses, employers reported the following real-life examples:

• Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start.
• Employee forgot he was hired for the job.
• Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown.
• Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation.
• Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet.
• Employee said a bird bit her.
• Employee was upset after watching “The Hunger Games.”
• Employee got sick from reading too much.
• Employee was suffering from a broken heart.
• Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home.

29 percent of bosses check up on excuses

The survey also found that a fair number of managers want to verify if sick workers are actually sick.

This was a big issue for me when I was a manager in Hawaii in a union shop, and mysteriously had a number of the surfers on staff call in sick when the surf was particularly large. I never caught any of them surfing when they should have been home in bed, but that was more because I didn’t have the time or resources to track all of them down.

Twenty-nine percent of employers say they have checked up on an employee to verify that his or her illness was legitimate, usually by requiring a doctor’s note or calling the employee later in the day.