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Study Reveals Worst Excuses For Calling Off Sick From Work

October 13, 2012
Image Credit: Kamira / Shutterstock

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

We’ve all had to call off work for some reason — illness, doctor’s appointment, death in the family, etc. — but one employment website has compiled some of the worst and most memorable excuses for missing work ever passed along from employee to employer.

CareerBuilder.com, which was founded in 1995 and is operated by Gannett Co, Inc., the Tribune Company, and the McClatchy Company, sponsored a study centered upon employees and their sick days and announced the results on Thursday.

The poll, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive and ran from August 13 through September 6, polled nearly 2,500 human resource professionals and hiring managers and nearly 4,000 workers representing a variety of industry types and company sizes.

According to Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith, approximately 30% of professionals called in sick at least once this year when they weren’t actually ill. “But instead of simply telling their managers, ‘I can´t make it in today because I´m not feeling well,’ they offered much more colorful excuses,” she said.

Among the top 10 excuses that you probably shouldn’t try at home“¦

• Employee´s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start

• Employee forgot he had been 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

“Of course sometimes people are telling the truth and can be found at home under piles of blankets with a thermometer and maximum-strength medicine,” the UK newspaper the Daily Mail said. “But next to actually being sick, the most common reasons employees gave for calling in sick are because they just don’t feel like going to work (34 percent), or because they felt like they needed to relax (29 percent).”

In addition, 22 percent said that they reported off so that they could go to a doctor’s appointment, while 16 percent said that they simply wanted to sneak in a little extra sleep and 15 percent said that they had some errands to run instead. Skipping out on work without a valid excuse can be hazardous to your employment status, though, as 17 percent of employers told CareerBuilder that they had terminated an employee who had given a bogus excuse.

And if you think that there’s no possible way you could be caught, Meg Handley of US News and World Report says you should probably think again. Handley reports that 29 percent of employers had “checked up on” their workers to make sure that the illness was genuine, either by requiring a note from a doctor or by calling the employee at some point during the day. Some of them even reportedly recruited co-workers of the “ill” individual to verify the veracity of the sickness, or driving by the person’s home to sneak a peek themselves.

“Every time we think we´ve seen it all, the next year´s survey always brings in the unexpected,” CareerBuilder VP of Human Resources Rosemary Haefner told Smith. “It´s better to be honest.  Keep it short and simple, and only provide the information that is needed“¦ If you´re caught lying, it can have more serious consequences and can bring your professionalism and reliability into question.”

“As an employer, you don´t want to pry into the employee´s personal life, but in some cases you may need more explanation as to why he or she can´t be at work that day,” she added. “If you are taking measures to try to catch an employee, then there clearly is a bigger trust issue at hand.  If you don´t trust your employees, it can be difficult to establish a productive and mutually supportive work environment.”


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online