Share Information With Women Worldwide

Connect, share information & access knowledge from millions of women worldwide per week.

Sign Up & Post Now

Help!I’vebeenbittenbyaDuck.StudyRevealsCrazyReasonsPeopleCallinSicktoWork

Jan Johnston Osburn
Jan Johnston Osburn Mogul Influencer | Career & Life Coach | Helping People Turn Dreams into Realities
11mo Washington, DC, United States Story
Help! I’ve been bitten by a Duck. Study Reveals Crazy Reasons People Call in Sick to Work

CareerBuilder’s Annual Study Reveals This Year’s Craziest Excuses for Calling in Sick

Every year, Careerbuilder  releases its annual survey showing the craziest reasons people call in sick. They found that that more than a third of workers (35 percent) said they have called in to work sick when they were feeling fine, down from 38 percent last year.

The Craziest Excuses for Calling in Sick

When asked to share the most suspicious excuses employees have given for calling in sick, employers said:

  • Employee said the ozone in the air flattened his tires.
  • Employee’s pressure cooker had exploded and scared her sister, so she had to stay home.
  • Employee had to attend the funeral of his wife’s cousin’s pet because he was an uncle and pallbearer.
  • Employee was blocked in by police raiding her home.
  • Employee had to testify against a drug dealer and the dealer’s friend mugged him.
  • Employee said her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess.
  • Employee ate cat food instead of tuna and was deathly ill.
  • Employee said she wasn’t sick but her llama was.
  • Employee had used a hair remover under her arms and had chemical burns as a result. She couldn’t put her arms down by her sides due to that.
  • Employee was bowling the game of his life and couldn’t make it to work.
  • Employee was experiencing traumatic stress from a large spider found in her home. She had to stay home to deal with the spider.
  • Employee said he had better things to do.
  • Employee ate too much birthday cake.
  • Employee was bitten by a duck.

Checking Out the Story

Though the majority of employers (67 percent) give their employees the benefit of the doubt, 33 percent say they have checked to see if an employee was telling the truth.  Employers have asked to see a doctor’s note, have called the employee, and some of them even drove past the employee’s house!  

More than 1 in 5 employers (22 percent) say they have fired an employee for calling in sick with a fake excuse, on par with last year.

Done in by Social Media

Some employees get caught in the act because of what they have posted online. More than a third of employers (34 percent) have caught an employee lying about being sick by checking social media. Of those, 27 percent have actually fired the employee, but 55 percent were more forgiving, only reprimanding the employee for the lie.

On the Flip Side

Not all employees believe they can take some time off.  Nearly half of employees (47 percent) said they come into work when they’re sick because they can’t afford to miss a day of pay. Almost 60 percent come in because they’re worried the work won’t get done otherwise.  Both of these are more common for women than men.

More than half of employees (53 percent) say they their company has PTO programs where sick days, vacation days and personal days are all lumped together, so employees can use their time off however they choose.

Still, of employees who say that their company has those types of programs, more than a quarter (28 percent) still feel obligated to make up an excuse to take a day off.

The Most Popular Time to Call in Sick

According to employers, employees most often call in sick during the month of December, followed by July, and then January.

The Most Popular Day

Monday! Friday is the second most popular day to call in sick.

Your Turn:

Want to confess?  Ever call in sick when you really weren’t sick?

Employers: What’s the craziest excuse you’ve ever heard?

You Might Also Like



5 comments

  • Dr Maritza Baez
    Dr Maritza Baez Love. Wellness. Connection
    10mo ago

    Some of these sound really off the wall, but crazy things happen sometimes. Thanks for sharing

    Some of these sound really off the wall, but crazy things happen sometimes. Thanks for sharing

  • Jan Johnston Osburn
    Jan Johnston Osburn Mogul Influencer | Career & Life Coach | Helping People Turn Dreams into Realities
    10mo ago

    And can I just say that this reason sound completely legit to me! "Employee said her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess."

    And can I just say that this reason sound completely legit to me! "Employee said her roots were showing and she had to keep her hair appointment because she looked like a mess."

  • Courtney Dercqu
    Courtney Dercqu Influencer
    10mo ago

    This is great! The golden rule is to never never never use social media when you take off a day from work. Whenever I call out sick I just stay home and relax and use my phone after five lol. Craziest excuse I've ever used was to someone I sold something online to and I forgot to mail it out. I said my daughter was on the swing set at recess and she fell and broke her arm. The kicker: I have no children. Employers, on the flip side though, don't always make it easy for someone to use their time. Some Bosses put too much pressure on their staff or they'll make them feel guilty about taking time off when they ask for it, which is a shame because if we have the time, let's use it before we lose it.

    This is great! The golden rule is to never never never use social media when you take off a day from work. Whenever I call out sick I just stay home and relax and use my phone after five lol. Craziest excuse I've ever used was to someone I sold something online to and I forgot to mail it out. I said my daughter was on the swing set at recess and she fell and broke her arm. The kicker: I have no children. Employers, on the flip side though, don't always make it easy for someone to use their time. Some Bosses put too much pressure on their staff or they'll make them feel guilty about taking time off when they ask for it, which is a shame because if we have the time, let's use it before we lose it.

    • Jan Johnston Osburn
      Jan Johnston Osburn Mogul Influencer | Career & Life Coach | Helping People Turn Dreams into Realities
      10mo ago

      Those are pretty crazy excuses. :) I agree with what you said about employers. I think some of the onus falls to the employer, particularly if you have a PTO policy. It’s your time off and should be allowed to take it. That’s why we have people coming in to work spreading germs when they are sick. They feel guilt for taking time off. However, there are people who abuse it but I think the U.S. in general doesn’t allow for people to have much leave and sometimes you just need a day off!

      Those are pretty crazy excuses. :) I agree with what you said about employers. I think some of the onus falls to the employer, particularly if you have a PTO policy. It’s your time off and should be allowed to take it. That’s why we have people coming in to work spreading germs when they are sick. They feel guilt for taking time off. However, there are people who abuse it but I think the U.S. in general doesn’t allow for people to have much leave and sometimes you just need a day off!

      • Courtney Dercqu
        Courtney Dercqu Influencer
        10mo ago

        Exactly! The sick part is absolutely true for some employers which I never understand. It's much more efficient to have someone out for one of two days than to come in and get everyone else sick so you mess up the flow of the office.

        Exactly! The sick part is absolutely true for some employers which I never understand. It's much more efficient to have someone out for one of two days than to come in and get everyone else sick so you mess up the flow of the office.


Report this post
Report this post
Jan Johnston Osburn
Mogul Influencer | Career & Life Coach | Helping People Turn Dreams into Realities

Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]

Want an amazing job or internship?

Join millions of women who have found their dream jobs and internships on Mogul.

Get A Top Job Now

Trending Jobs

See All Jobs