From fake eyes to false teeth to the FBI, here's the annual list of the silliest excuses that bosses heard this year.

The best work-related excuse I ever heard happened in 1991. I was a young newspaper reporter, and a fellow reporter didn’t show up Monday morning. Or call in. Or show up in the afternoon. When his editor called him, he didn’t answer. Aggravation morphed into fear: Was he hurt? Or worse?

Tuesday morning, the reporter strolled into the newsroom like nothing had happened. His excuse?

He met a woman over the weekend, they hit it off, and they had so much sex for so long, he forgot what day it was. On Monday, he still thought it was Sunday.

The editor believed him – and suspended him. But he wasn’t fired. The story was just too good.

Every year, the CareerBuilder  jobs site asks more than 2,000 hiring managers about the stupidest excuses they’ve heard from employees calling in sick. Without further ado…

What’s your excuse?

  1. Employee’s false teeth flew out the window while driving down the highway
  2. Employee’s favorite football team lost on Sunday so needed Monday to recover
  3. Employee was quitting smoking and was grouchy
  4. Employee said that someone glued her doors and windows shut so she couldn’t leave the house to come to work
  5. Employee bit her tongue and couldn’t talk
  6. Employee claimed a swarm of bees surrounded his vehicle and he couldn’t make it in
  7. Employee said the chemical in turkey made him fall asleep and he missed his shift
  8. Employee felt like he was so angry he was going to hurt someone if he came in
  9. Employee received a threatening phone call from the electric company and needed to report it to the FBI
  10. Employee needed to finish Christmas shopping
  11. Employee’s fake eye was falling out of its socket
  12. Employee got lost and ended up in another state
  13. Employee couldn’t decide what to wear

Other sick stats

The CareerBuilder survey also contains some more serious observations…

  • Technology sucks when you’re sick: “20 percent of workers say in the past year they called in sick but still ended up doing work from home throughout the day.”
  • Sick? Or just sick of work? “In the past year, nearly one third (32 percent) of workers have called in sick when not actually ill, up slightly from last year (30 percent).”
  • Sick and twisted: “30 percent of employees say they’ve gone to work despite actually being sick in order to save their sick days for when they’re feeling well.”
  • Failing when ailing: “30 percent of employers say that they have checked in on employees who have called in sick to make sure the excuse was legitimate … 16 percent say they’ve fired employees for calling in sick with a fake excuse.”

And the reporter who got suspended? He told me later, “If I had to get suspended for not showing up for work, I can’t think of a better excuse.” It certainly beats bees.

Meet the Author

Michael Koretzky

Michael Koretzky


Koretzky is a PFE-certified debt management professional and the editor of

Career and Business

employment, healthcare, unemployment

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Article last modified on April 1, 2014 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The most outrageous excuses for calling in sick to work - AMP.